Hocus Pocus: 6 Times We Felt Bad For Dani (& 5 Times We Hated Her)

In 1993, three witches were brought back to life with the lighting of a magical candle. They wanted power and immortality, but to get it, they had to face off against Dani Dennison, her big brother Max, and his new friend Allison in Hocus Pocus.

With a Disney+ sequel to the original movie finally debuting in 2022, fans are just as interested in the story of the Dennison siblings and the Sanderson sisters today as they were in 1993. Dani, smart and quick-thinking, has always been one of the most likable characters in Hocus Pocus. But she's got some moments in the movie that still make fans cringe.


Updated on September 11th, 2022 by Amanda Bruce: Fans might be excited about Disney Plus green lighting a sequel movie almost 30 years after the original debuted in theaters, but it’s not the first Hocus Pocus sequel. For the 25th anniversary of the movie, a novelization of the film, as well as a sequel novel, were published, allowing fans to get a little more into the heads of the characters they’ve loved since 1993. The novels, as well as the movies being available to stream on Disney Plus, mean that fans have plenty of Hocus Pocus content to relive to their hearts’ content.

Times Hocus Pocus Fans Felt Bad For Dani

Dani Ends Up In The Underworld

Dani, Allison, and Max look at the spell book in Hocus Pocus

While the sequel novel and the sequel movie feature different storylines, the novel still left room for fans to feel plenty bad for Dani. The novel spotlighted Max Dennison’s daughter after she and her friends accidentally brought the Sanderson sisters back to life - swapping Dani, Max, and Allison for them in Hell.

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Throughout the novel, Max’s daughter and her friends tried to defeat the Sanderson sisters, but all the while, her parents and her aunt are stuck in the worst version of the afterlife, just trying to get by until they can be rescued.

Binx Meets A Bus

Binx as a cat in Hocus Pocus

Thackery Binx is probably every '90s kid's favorite cat. Dani took a liking to him instantly. Even though he was once a teenage boy himself, she very much treated him like a cat she was going to get to keep at the end of her Halloween adventure.

When trying to escape the Sanderson sisters via the sewer system, the group came out of the ground in the middle of traffic — and Binx seemingly met his end thanks to a bus. Binx, of course, couldn't yet die, but Dani didn't yet know that, and her heartbreak at losing her new furry friend was all over her face.

Max Wanted Her Out Of His Life

Max and Dani on a pile of hay and pumpkins in Hocus Pocus

When Dani and Max got into a tiny disagreement about Max standing up to bullies, he snapped. He couldn't see that his little sister didn't understand his point of view — or why he was still upset about moving to Salem in the first place. He told her to collect her candy and, "get out of [his] life."

Dani's hurt was immediate. She didn't even make it to the candy, running away and asserting that she wanted to go home. Max, like the audience, also had an immediate reaction, knowing he crossed a line. The audience waited for him to make it up to her.

Winifred Kidnaped Dani

Mary and Winifred holding Dani captive in Hocus Pocus

Despite Dani generally causing her big brother strife, no movie fan wanted to see harm befall her. That's why her being taken by Winifred hit so hard.

Dani thought they were finally in the clear when she got to bed at 3:00 AM, which had to be much later than she was used to. Asleep with her new cat, the Sanderson sisters took her away from what she thought was her happy ending.

Dani's Mother Wouldn't Believe Her

The Dennison parents in costume at a party in Hocus Pocus

Movie kids in the '90s were frequently told by their parents, "you can always come to me," and "you can tell me anything," or variations of the two. It's no wonder then that Max and Dani intended to tell their parents about the Sanderson sisters at the town Halloween party when they decided they needed some help.

RELATED: 10 Details Hocus Pocus Fans Will Only Know By Reading The Books

Unfortunately for Dani, her story was just a little too outlandish for her mom. Her mother thought she'd had too much candy, leaving Dani pleading with her to listen.

Dani Really Had To Let Binx Go

Thackery Binx as a ghost at the end of Hocus Pocus

Dani's journey of the night was bookended with Binx. Though she came to believe he could live forever — and live on in her family with her descendants taking care of him — that wasn't the case. Once the Sanderson sisters were really defeated, Binx the cat was no more.

The curse placed on Thackery Binx was broken, and his soul got to move on to the afterlife. It was hard to watch Dani say goodbye to someone she'd grown so close to over the course of Halloween night.

Times Hocus Pocus Fans Hated Dani

Dani Wanted Max To Be Her Bodyguard

Jay and Ice hang out in the cemetery in Hocus Pocus

While out trick-or-treating on Halloween, Dani and Max ran into some bullies from the high school. When they tried to take Dani's candy from her, she decided it was in her best interest to use her brother's presence as her shield. While the audience can understand that Dani wanted her big brother to protect her, it's also a moment where they hate her for volunteering Max to get pummeled.

To be completely fair to Dani, she was missing some valuable information — Ice and Jay already stole Max's shoes that afternoon.​​​

Dani Screamed For Her Mom

Dani screams in Hocus Pocus

The audience got their first look at Dani when she snuck up on Max and then excitedly informed him that he would be taking her trick-or-treating. Her excitement turned into earsplitting anger when Max told her he wasn't going.

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Has there ever been a child's scream that was as shrill or startling as Dani's when she called for her mom? Absolutely not. Anyone older than her in the audience hated that scream.

Dani Wanted To See The Sanderson Sisters Dusted

Allison directing Dani and Max to the car in Hocus Pocus

Due to Dani's age, she tended to get caught up in things that more mature viewers wouldn't appreciate. One of those things is wanting to see the Sanderson sisters turn to dust.

Allison came up with the plan to trick the witches into believing it was dawn, and it worked. She and Max got Dani out of the sisters' grasp. But Dani, not understanding that her rescue was the result of a trick, was busy complaining that she didn't get to see the Sandersons turn to dust. The audience, meanwhile, just wanted her to get as far away from the witches as possible.

Dani Tried To Help Max With The Police

Max talking to who he thinks is a police officer in Hocus Pocus

Because she was smart as a whip and quick to make her feelings known, Dani tended to blurt out her opinion into any conversation she was near. That included when Max tried to get help from the police officer (who was really just a civilian in a Halloween costume).

While Max told the story about lighting the black flame candle and bringing the Sanderson sisters back from the dead, Dani just had to interject. Her comment added nothing to the moment, and made the audience believe that she blew it for them — before they realized that the police officer wasn't a police officer at all.

Dani Embarrassed Max In Front Of Allison

Allison stands at the top of a staircase in costume in Hocus Pocus

It's the prerogative of younger siblings to embarrass their older siblings. Dani sure didn't miss her chance when she discovered she was meeting the Allison of Max's dreams early on in the movie.

While Max and Allison didn't get off on the right foot, Dani and Allison got along right away. Allison didn't even bat an eye at Dani's blatant attempt to make her brother uncomfortable when discussing the appeal of Allison's Halloween costume, but Max nearly choked on his apple cider. The entire audience felt his pain.

NEXT: Which Hocus Pocus Character Are You Based On Your Zodiac Sign?