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Hocus Pocus Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 11+

Rollicking Halloween fun for tweens and up.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie involves a plot to suck the life force out of children (and one little girl dies that way). A couple of high school bullies harass a male classmate in a graveyard, asking him for "smokes" and "hash" and finally stealing his shoes. There are mild sexual references, such as a high school boy hugging his pillow and murmuring, "Oh, Allison, you're so soft," as well as some frisky flirting from one of the witches. The main character is teased about being a virgin. The body of an "unfaithful lover" rises from the grave. Main features of the story are a book bound in human skin and a candle made from the fat of a hanged man. A tale is told about the Devil, and there are various gross-out moments. But it's important to note that all of the above is done in the playful, spooky spirit of Halloween.

  • Families can talk about scary stories, and parents can share their memories of Halloween. What's your all-time favorite costume? How do you want to dress up this year?
  • Depending on kids' age, they may be interested in learning about the Salem witch trials.
  • If kids are at all spooked by the movie, families can talk about why. What scared you? Do you think it was meant to be scary?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: The teenage newbie in town (Max), his love interest (Allison) and his kid sister (Dani) outwit three naughty witches on Halloween. Along the way they learn about friendship and teamwork.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: Max, Dani and Allison support each other and tackle the witches with intelligence. There are bullies and bad witches but these characters are very clearly in the wrong.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: The violence is all magical, but there are a couple of gross-out scenes, such as a cat getting run over by a bus and a zombie cutting his mouth open. Some bullying; a child dies onscreen but not violently -- the witches take her life-force while she's in a trance-like state and she quietly slumps over in a chair.

  • sex false0

    Sex: References to virginity and an unfaithful lover; some flirting. Boy hugs a pillow and says "Oh, Allison, you're so soft."

  • language false2

    Language: Mild; the only offenders are "damn," "wench," "moron," and "go to hell."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: References to "hash" and "smokes," but none are smoked by the kids or adults.