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Movie Reviews

‘Spirit Halloween: The Movie’ review: No trick, this family friendly horror is a real treat

A new Halloween tradition?

Welcome to another installment of 31 Days of Halloween! This is our chance to set the mood for the spookiest and scariest month of the year as we focus our attention on horror and Halloween fun. For the month of October we’ll be sharing various pieces of underappreciated scary books, comics, movies, and television to help keep you terrified and entertained all the way up to Halloween.


Spirit Halloween: The Movie sounds like an odd crash grab. After all, there are not too many movies named after retail chains. The plot is about three boys who decide to spend the night locked inside – guess where? – a Spirit Halloween store. They soon discover the place is cursed. It is hard not to feel a little cynical even though the cast includes names like Christopher Lloyd and Rachel Leigh Cook.

Instead, it may end up being the best and most surprising treat of this year’s Halloween. The movie wisely leans into its more adventurous roots with plenty of chase scenes, hidden caverns, urban legends. Spirit Halloween is reminiscent of the family friendly adventure films of the 1980s. Much like most horror aimed at younger audiences, it aims at delivering innocent fun and scares, and delivers on both.

The story never tries to be about more than a kids fighting off vengeful spirits and growing up. This straightforward approach is the greatest strength of Spirit Halloween. There are no subplots to keep track of, no twists to mull over. It is simply about telling a scary story. This also means Spirit Halloween is very formulaic from problems being easily solved down to the unattainable crush. This does not negatively impact the film, though. On the contrary, it adds to the charm. The many Halloween animatronics and decorations do not hurt, either.

Lloyd is heard more than seen, and it is surprising how easily everyone is able to get into the store after it has closed. Even stranger is the constantly empty parking lot. Those are minor quips, however. All the family friendly Halloween attention may be on the sequel that recently premiered on Disney+, but Spirit Halloween: The Movie has the better chance of becoming an annual tradition.

Spirit Halloween: The Movie is available On Demand October 11

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