It’s not often you come across a Disney family film in which the main characters suck the life out of children. But that’s what witches Winifred (Midler), Sarah (Parker) and Mary (Najimy) did in 1693 that caused them to be sentenced to death by the people of Salem. And now, three centuries later, young Max has found and lit the black candle that brings them back to life. Oops.
Of course, while this is surprisingly dark for a Disney movie, many kids will like it for just that. As Max and his pals try to find a way to stop the witches, Midler, Parker and Najimy have a ball, flying around on vacuum cleaners, cackling at all and sundry and spouting fun dialogue (Midler: ‘You know, I’ve always wanted a child. And now I think I’ll have one… on toast!’).
There’s not much else to the plot, although grown-ups should note that if they haven’t discussed the birds and the bees with their kids yet, it may come up after watching this, since it turns out the reason Max was able to revive the witches from the dead is that the black candle required a virgin to light it for the magic to work.
Is Hocus Pocus suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Children over 12 shouldn’t find anything too scary here, but parents of younger children should be advised the film contains a few deaths (including by execution), the sucking of children’s souls (not as bad as it sounds) and the killing of a cat.
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