Trick 'r Treat (2008) Review
Written by: the5thdroog
It is really nice to finally see a movie that I’ve been waiting for years to see. I was under the impression the delay was for a theatrical release, but then that only became limited. It then just got to the point where I just wanted to see the movie, big screen or not. Finally, I got a chance. After seeing this movie, I can understand a little more why backers were a little hesitant about a wide release, but at the same time I would’ve enjoyed seeing it on the big screen even more. Going in, I had no real idea what the movie was actually about. I’d seen the trailer and that was enough for me to want to see it so I didn’t dig to find out any more about it. I just wanted a release date and chance to see it. I mean obviously it was about Halloween, but anything more than that wasn’t very clear to me. So now, for those who want to know a little more about this anticipated release, I’ll fill you in, but not too much.
The movie opens with a view of a very well decorated street. Most of the houses seem to really be in the spirit of the night and have jack-o-lanterns, lights, and various ghosts and monsters lining their yards. The focus then is on a couple who is just coming home from a late night out. The woman, Emma (Leslie Bibb), is dressed in a robot costume. The kind that is a painted box for the body and a smaller painted box for the head. Emma turns to her man, Henry (Tahmoh Penikett), and asks him to take all of the decorations down. She then bends down to blowout the jack-o-lantern that is in front of their white picket fence. Henry then warns her of the rules and traditions of Halloween and about how the pumpkin should stay lit until the next day and the decorations should stay up as well. Emma then mentions the fact that her mother is coming over the next day and there is no way that Henry would be up before noon and it wouldn’t be a good thing for her mom to see the place like this. The yard was covered in sheets that were hung over staked crosses, there were fake body parts hanging from the tree, and Halloween lights helped to give the yard more attention. Emma looks back at Henry and then just tells him to go to bed and that she will take care of it. Henry does just this and we watch as Emma begins taking down the decorations. We also begin to have the feeling that she isn’t alone. Later Henry wakes up to find Emma still hasn’t come to bed so he gets up to investigate. This then starts the movie and gives us a feel for what we are in for. The movie is actually about four short stories interweaved into one movie. Most of them deal with tradition and rules of Halloween, but there is the inclusion of a monster story. Through each of these stories we see a little figure named Sam. He seems to be some sort of guide for this particular night and also seems to be making sure the traditions are being maintained. So as the movie continues, we watch as Sam takes us through the streets and homes of the small town of Warren Valley, Ohio so we can get to know the people and secrets of this little community that, for the most part, knows how to do Halloween right.
The movie was well acted and actually had “name” talent sprinkled throughout. With actors such as Brian Cox, Anna Paquin, and Dylan Baker, just to name a few, being focused on as a main character in a few of the stories it made it that much easier to feel involved. I do have to say that I was impressed with how well the kids in the movie acted. I also really enjoyed the performance of Quinn Lord as Sam. I know he was in a mask and maybe didn’t have to do much, but I really liked the little guy.
This movie wasn’t a blood bath, but the effects that were used were done well. I think maybe the bloodiest scene didn’t even use blood. I think it was more pumpkin guts. We did get a few severed limbs and some ghastly creature effects, but it wasn’t a gore fest. The best effect in the movie was the set. The way they captured the feel of how a “traditional” small town could come together in the spirit of the holiday and what it would look like, was perfect for me. I haven’t felt that pleasant fall feel since I walked the streets of Haddonfield all those years ago. I obviously speak of the original visit and not the recent returns.
In the end, the stories of the movie weren’t completely original, but they were done very well here. I’m a fan of urban legends and myths. To see a few of them mixed so thoughtfully and cleverly was what made it so enjoyable for me. I can honestly say that this will not be the last time I visit Warren Valley, Ohio and welcome Sam as my guide into what Halloween could be. In watching a movie that preaches tradition, I now have another one of my own to add to the list. I’ll be watching this movie every year on Halloween.