Trick R' Treat Review
Written by: Bulin
It’s Halloween in Warren Valley, Ohio and the town is hosting it’s annual Halloween party. As the various costumed people party on, we get to glimpse into 5 different yet intertwined events that will change the lives of the unwilling participants forever. As we follow the meandering little costumed Sam we are treated to some great stories starting with Emma (Leslie Bibb) and Henry (Tahmoh Penikett) who find out the religious significance and origins of the lit Jack o’ Lantern. From there we meet the school principal (Dylan Baker) who is not quite as boring and normal as everyone might think. Without stopping we meet up with a group of kids collecting carved pumpkins for a UNICEF charity scavenger hunt as well as sweet, innocent Laurie (Anna Paquin) who is out looking for Mr. Right while her friends beg her to just join the party. Finally we end with Mr. Kreeg (Brian Cox) a Tales From the Darkside inspired mean old man who isn’t in the mood for trick or treaters.
As ambiguous as that description is, it still might provide some clues as to what is in store when you hit play but it will in no way detract from the fun of this movie. The town scenes capture the feel of 80’s horror and reminded me of, as a kid walking the streets at dusk back when neighborhood trick or treating was still a safe normal thing. Opening credits are animated and are a nice nod to Creepshow and Tales From the Crypt, two Horror classics that will often be compared to when discussing Trick R’ Treat.
This is the directoral debut of Michael Dougherty. It is a strong entrance into the world of Horror and the continuous releasing delays, although unfortunate and unnecessary, did create a lot of hype around this well crafted movie. The movie focuses on that spooky feel instead of dousing the audience with gore and nudity. Both are present when appropriate but they are used in conjunction with good setups and atmosphere, creating a good balance. This movie is truely a throwback to the 70’s and 80’s, when movies such as Cat’s Eye and Asylum nailed the anthology format perfectly. With a potentially iconic central character named Sam (short for Samhein perhaps?) and an open ended storyline, wouldn’t it be a great new Halloween tradition to continue a Trick R’ Treat franchise?
Acting is good throughout, with Anna Paquin decked out in Little Red Riding Hood attire really nailing the good girl image in her featurette. I also really liked Dylan Baker as the deranged principal. He reminded me a bit of Jeffrey Combs in his delivery as he tried to keep up his normal image during his definitely non-normal activities.
I was a little disappointed in the special features and will end up double dipping so to speak and purchasing this on Blu Ray with all of the extras included, especially for the Schoolbus FX featurette and Brian Cox narrorated documentary on the history of Halloween. The standard dvd does include Director Michael Dougherty’s 1996 animated short “Trick r Treat: Season’s Greetings.” This film school project launched the character of Sam and includes an fun optional commentary track.
- Trick R’ Treat Season’s Greetings (with optional commentary)
When was the last time a well done horror anthology film came out? Hard to remember, right? Perhaps that is why this film is being praised as the best dvd release of 2009 by a lot of horror fans. I am not quite ready to present that award to Trick R’ Treat quite yet, however I strongly recommend this one for Halloween as it does a lot of things very well. The character of Sam (hain?) is left very vague and open ended and has a lot of potential to return for a follow up movie if this one proves profitable (fingers crossed). This is just a fun movie that has definitely earned the featured spot in my October movie night rotation this Saturday. If you haven’t seen Trick R’ Treat yet, I recommend picking it up.