The sisters Sanderson are back and in a big way. Nearly 30 years after the original film charmed its way into our hearts and October film rotation, the original cast is back with just as much camp and gusto as you would hope. With Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy you already have all the fans back, but add in original cast member Doug Jones and you bring in the likes of Sam Richardson, Tony Hale, and Hannah Waddingham you are really starting to sell this legacy sequel and make me believe you cared about it.
The story is about three young women who accidentally bring back the Sanderson Sisters to modern-day Salem and must figure out how to stop the child-hungry witches from causing even more damage. Bringing it to present day sets up plenty of “fish-out-of-water” moments that do well to capture the charm and comedy that made the original something so steeped in childhood nostalgia. Disney certainly knows how to push the right buttons and bring that magic to the forefront. Director Anne Fletcher keeps this fresh and fun without letting it become another “straight-to-streaming” casualty. No doubt aided by the committed performances from Midler, Parker, and Najimy who all appear to be having the time of their lives on screen, their infectious glee during a rather spirited rendition of “One Way or Another”.
Just silly enough to satisfy a new generation of children, and just campy and familiar enough to satisfy the adults who grew up watching the original film, there is some special magic about this sequel that brings together these generations and gives something for everyone to enjoy. One of the greatest allies a film like this can have is its tongue in cheek approach to its characters and setting, so things like budget constraints and hammy acting all feel like well thought out decisions. Charming, funny, and pure magic, be sure to bring the kids and enjoy a new Halloween tradition.
3.5 out of 5