Spirit Halloween: The Movie Image

How does a filmmaker go about making a motion picture based on a store? It’s actually been done before in 1991’s Career Opportunities, which could have been called Target: The Movie because it centered on a fast-talking Frank Whaley being stuck overnight in a Target with a young and alluring Jennifer Connelly. Writer Billie Bates and director David Poag’s Spirit Halloween: The Movie is of a similar mold because it is about a group of kids who decide to spend the night in a Spirit store on Halloween. But once there, they’re tormented by the demonic spirit of Alex Windsor, played by Christopher Lloyd. I’ve always held a special affinity for Halloween and all things related to it, with spooky megastores such as Spirit Halloween being no exception, so the film has some potential for me right off the bat.

Middle school friends Bo (Jaiden J. Smith), Carson (Dylan Martin Frankel), Jake (Donovan Colan), and Carson’s older sister, Kate (Marissa Reyes), try to figure out what they want to do on Halloween. The three boys decide that trick or treating is for little children, so the new Spirit Halloween store in a deserted strip mall is the place to be. Little do they know that many years ago, as shown in the movie’s beginning, Grandma G (Marla Gibbs) placed a curse on the evil landowner Alex Windsor, trapping his spirit on the grounds of the new store.

Spirit Halloween: The Movie tries to establish some emotional groundwork, with Jake having lost his father to cancer. He’s also trying to accept a new stepdad in Frank (Brad Carter). However, I gather from his side-eyes that Jake views Frank as someone that is stealing time and attention from his relationship with his mother, Sue (Rachael Leigh Cook). I wish that these dramatic aspects were a little more fleshed out because I just didn’t feel the emotions tugging at my heartstrings at the key moments as the filmmakers intended.

“…a group of kids who decide to spend the night in a Spirit store on Halloween.”

This adventure title is cheesy, but what else do you expect from a movie about a Halloween store? Still, I do appreciate the mostly practical effects used courtesy of a number of animatronic devices. Throughout the night, Alex Windsor inhabits the bodies of various monsters in the store, which are my favorite parts. In addition, it’s fun to hear Christopher Lloyd take glee in being part of the dark side since he’s always been so indelible to audiences as the affable Doc Brown in Back to the Future.

Despite the greatness of Lloyd, the acting overall comes across as a bit stiff. There are a lot of fresh faces here, so it’s to be expected. Your level of enjoyment of Spirit Halloween: The Movie will probably vary based on your expectations coming in. I kept mine low and had some fun with the spooky cheesiness of it all.

This film seems more intended for the Goosebumps, young middle school audience than an older crowd, as there’s nothing truly frightening here. On that level, it works. The film won’t scare your socks off, but you’ll get a few tricks and treats to make it worthwhile.

Spirit Halloween: The Movie (2022)

Directed: David Poag

Written: Billie Bates

Starring: Jaiden J. Smith, Dylan Martin Frankel, Donovan Colan, Marissa Reyes, Marla Gibbs, Christopher Lloyd, Rachael Leigh Cook, etc.

Movie score: 6/10

Spirit Halloween: The Movie Image

"…you'll get a few tricks and treats..."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join our Film Threat Newsletter

Newsletter Icon