Hocus Pocus 2003 Horror Movie Review
Horror movies Review
The 1980s had a lot of supernatural comedies, and “Hocus Pocus” is one of the flimsier examples of the genre. While the script is about as lackluster as it comes, the actors keep up a pretty steady stream of pyrotechnic wire-fu and slapstick prankery. And Ching-Ying Lam knocks the whole thing up another notch.
A troupe of wandering actors come to a theatre in a large town, and delight the locals with their tales of ghosts, gods and battles. Behind the scenes, there’s a power struggle going on between two bright young actors, and a bunch of young men playing ghostly pranks on each other.
What they don’t realize is that there’s a REAL ghost (Yuet Sang Chin) causing mischief backstage. So the troupe’s ghost expert, Master Sheng (Ching-Ying Lam) has to come up with a way to get the ghost to go away—except that after they satisfy the mischievous ghost, they attract a malevolent one instead!
The first half of “Hocus Pocus” frankly seems pretty directionless, with lots of drunk actors playing jokes, acrobatic shows, and the ghost causing mischief. Fortunately the plot gets moving after that, with some excellent “hauntings” and a climactic battle with the malevolent spirit. It doesn’t hurt that the combatants are in full supernatural dress, either.
The dialogue tends to be rather lackluster, although that may be the fault of the translators rather than the scriptwriter—the subtitles are very awkward. To compensate for that, the filmmakers threw in lots of slapstick—people walking into walls, tripping over spooks, floating in the air, and the occasional bit of toilet humor.
Ching-Ying Lam hadn’t yet made “Mr. Vampire” when this movie was made, but he does more or less the same job—he’s the capable, level-headed sage, who is surrounded by idiots and spooks. And his presence is enough to knock the production up a notch. The other actors are capable, including Yuet Sang Chin, although none of the other characters are really fleshed out.
“Hocus Pocus” is a pleasant ghost story, lightweight and a bit slow, but still worth watching for people who like a little comedy with their hauntings.