The Movie Guru: new movies that offer a taste of the Halloween spirit

If you love your Halloween season covered in a ton of gore, then “Halloween Kills” is the movie for you.
© Universal / Courtesy photo

If you love your Halloween season covered in a ton of gore, then “Halloween Kills” is the movie for you. While the film is sadly far less focused than the excellent “Halloween” of 2018, the death toll rises dramatically as Myers makes his way through a gang of Haddonfield. The scope of the film is also increasing, trying to explore the impact of Michael’s crimes on the city he has threatened for so long. Although the film is entangled with some interesting ideas, it tries to do too much and, therefore, does not focus properly on any of them. The Blood, however, handles spectacularly, with several pretty headshots and a particularly frightening chase through a nearby park. Jamie Lee Curtis is also fantastic every moment she’s on screen, as is Judy Greer as a girl. It’s far from perfect, but it’s almost two hours of chaos that will set you up for “Halloween Ends” of 2022.

Night Books (Netflix)

It’s a children’s movie, you think. Surely it can’t be that scary. But it doesn’t take more than 10 minutes in the original Netflix movie “Nightbooks” to remind you that children’s nightmares can sometimes be scarier than adults. A modern take on “Hansel and Gretel”, the film follows a boy (Winslow Fegley) who gets tricked by a witch and must tell her stories or risk being killed every night. The stories he tells are almost sweet, and there’s a wonderful friendship with another girl who doesn’t want to care about anyone (Lidya Jewett). But their imprisonment is claustrophobic, much more like a real kidnapping than a candy-coated fairy tale, and the sense of menace that permeates almost every moment on screen will wash over your skin. Krysten Ritter is exactly the right kind of cartoon like the witch in question, exactly the kind of nightmare designed to appeal to kids, and the third act twist fits in perfectly even if you don’t see it coming.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage (in theaters)

While there is certainly a monster factor and a serial killer, it is in some ways the lightest of the three films. “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” is more of a morbid boyfriend comedy than a monster movie, and if you’re in a good mood, this is exactly the right kind of silly fun. While Woody Harrelson does everything he can to be scary, the movie is actually about a lot more about the stress of sharing your body with a brain-eating alien who is better at your job than you are. Tom Hardy is a mess in the best possible way, both as Eddie Brock and Venom, and watching them fight (and sometimes defeat evil) is adorable in a slightly messy, Halloween-tinged way. It’s far from a perfect movie, but if you don’t mind removing your head occasionally, it’s a fun way to spend an evening.

Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning film critic and member of the Denver Film Critics Society. Find her on Twitter at @wardellwriter or message her at

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