Let’s get one thing clear: Spirit Halloween is a fine brand, and we have no complaints about it and no interest in disparaging the good work that it does in providing reasonably priced Halloween paraphernalia to the public (to say nothing of the noble strides it has made in revitalizing America’s underused strip malls). That being said, we didn’t exactly have high hopes when we first heard that some kind of movie based on Spirit Halloween stores was in the works a few months ago. Say what you will about movies based on toys, but they at least usually have characters and stuff. This is a movie based on a store.
Well, we’re ready to eat our words like so many handfuls of delicious Halloween candy, because the trailer for Spirit Halloween: The Movie is here and it… looks a whole lot like a movie based on a store. Actually, to be more specific, it looks like a movie somebody made because they got permission to film inside an actual Spirit Halloween (inside an actual abandoned Toys R Us) and then they just figured everything out from there. Like how Steven Spielberg just happened to set up a camera on Amity Island one summer during a string of shark attacks and figured he might as well turn it into Jaws.
As for Spirit Halloween: The Movie, it seems to be about a group of kids who decide to spend a night in a Spirit Halloween (the “how about a night locked in here” moment where one kid shows a picture of a goddamn Toys R Us with the Spirit banner covering the old logo is one of the best trailer moments of the year), but—unfortunately for them—it seems to have been built inside a Toys R Us that was built on cursed land (a flashback shows Christopher Lloyd forcing some woman off of her land and getting cursed).
The Spirit Halloween is now haunted for real and the various Halloween props and costumes are coming to life to try and kill the kids, forcing them all to bond and grow up/retain their childlike sense of fun or whatever. It’s a Halloween movie for kids based on a real-life store. We’re not unpacking some complex art film here. Snootiness aside, though: It looks fine, c’mon. You know what you’re getting by the title, there’s no point in crafting some kind of epic takedown. The kids probably had fun, and Christopher Lloyd and Rachel Leigh Cook got paychecks. What more do you need from a movie?
Spirit Halloween: The Movie will be in theaters this fall and… wait, that can’t be right. Theaters? Surely they mean that it will be available on DVD on a rack near the checkout at Spirit Halloween stores nationwide. But no, the YouTube page says “theaters.” Good for them!