Weekly recommendations from Common Sense Media.

Halloween Spirit: The Movie (Unrated)

The tween-friendly horror has some jump scares and ghosts.

Spirit Halloween: The Movie is an adult horror thriller in which three teenagers spend the night in a Halloween store. While it definitely has some scares, including jumping fears throughout, it’s age-appropriate for teenagers: there’s no gore or gory violence. The three teens were later joined by a teen who played various animatronic monsters possessed by ghosts from local legends. Monsters are often stopped with fire, including the use of flames and bug spray to stop skeleton monsters from burning while screaming. The film explores themes of growing up, trying to adjust to living in a mixed family and first love. Language is limited to insults like “bullshit” and “dumb”. (87 minutes)

In theaters; available on demand October 11.

Book-Based Drama About Race, Art, Identity Has Gun Violence.

“On the Come Up” is based on author Angie Thomas’ bestselling book, set in the same fictional community as her earlier “The Hate U Give”. The film (co-star Sanaa Lathan’s directorial debut) is a tribute to fighting for your dreams and staying true to yourself, even when outside forces want you to change. Expect drug references, and the occasional strong language (“a–hole”, “s–” and an LGBTQ slur). Violent scenes include characters brandishing guns, or in the case of two gang members, armed robbery after beating/beating two unarmed teenagers. There was also a disturbing encounter between a student and two school security officers. (They threw her to the ground and pinned her there.) Later, there were protests by the security guards, who cowered amid the angry crowd. Romance is limited to a few kisses between teenagers. Families with teens will have many topics to discuss, from the racism and prejudice faced by black teens to the ways entertainers of color may feel pressured to portray themselves in stereotypical ways to appeal to mainstream (i.e. white) audiences. Messages include the importance of empathy, integrity, and perseverance. (116 minutes)

In theaters; also available on Paramount Plus.

Campy but fun sequel with some violence, panic.

“Hocus Pocus 2” is the highly anticipated sequel to Disney’s wildly popular fantasy comedy “Hocus Pocus” of the 1990s. Like the original, the Witcher sequel is generally family-friendly, but does feature scenes of magical violence, abuse, and vulgarity, mostly involving a decapitated zombie. The witches (Returning stars Betty Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimi) discuss eating children to stay young, and they threaten to kill and torture others, including teenagers. They set fires, used spells that required blood and bones, and talked about stealing souls. People are chased, shoved, slapped, slapped on the head, decapitated (in the case of walking zombies), electrocuted with magic rays, and hypnotized — all played out for comedy. Women of all ages know that they benefit from having women around them who support them. In addition to swearing, the language included “Damn” and exclamations for “God,” “Lucifer,” and “Satan.” There are references to kisses and virgins. (106 minutes)

Available on Disney Plus.

My Best Friend’s Exorcism (R)

Teen comedy horror stories about bullying, language, drugs.

My Best Friend’s Exorcism is a comedy horror thriller based on a novel in which a teenage girl must save her best friend from being possessed by demons. Expect a fair amount of horror movie violence and imagery, as well as some verbal and physical bullying, including gay shaming. A teenage girl encouraged her friend to drink tea filled with tapeworm eggs that would later hatch. When possessed, a teen stood up in front of the class and sat down to urinate (heard but not shown). Reference to rape: During a class presentation, a nun refers to alcohol as “rape juice” and the protagonist initially thinks the reason her best friend is acting so strangely is that she was raped by their friend’s boyfriend. The characters use strong language throughout, including “motherf—-r”, “f—“, vulgar slang, and homophobic slurs. Teens take LSD overnight, and some teens drink alcohol. There are also sexual innuendo, references to sex and masturbation, and adult smoking. (96 minutes)

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