Trick ‘r Treat, a phrase that we’ve all heard countless times. A term commonly associated with Halloween, and the endless barrage of kids in scary costumes, knocking at the door stealing, for want of a better term, all of our favourite sweets and chocolates. If like me you’re like Joey from Friends and rather reluctant to share any form of food, it’s a night we turn out the lights, and pretend were not in! Then again, after watching Trick ‘r Treat, we may well realise that breaking Halloween tradition is not a good idea.
Up until recently I’d not had the pleasure of viewing this film, and it was by chance that I stumbled across the infamous werewolf scene, and knew that I’d just seen some cinematic magic in the short clip I’d viewed.
Directed and written by Michael Dougherty in 2007, who just also happened to direct 2015’s brilliant Krampus, although it took another two years for this now cult classic to see the light of day, and produced by Brian Singer, you’ll notice the X-men links with the casting choices. Trick ‘r Treat clocks in at a mere 82 minutes, but in that time manages to encapsulate everything a good horror film should be.
As far as anthology films go, Trick ‘r Treat does a wonderful job of interweaving the short stories and the central character of Sam, who appears as a small costumed child in each narrative to dish out his own sort of homicidal Halloween justice.
Along with the stellar cast, which includes a wonderful performance from Dylan Baker who portrays the Psychotic and twisted serial killing school principal to Anna Paquin’s character of Laurie who basically plays a young virgin in the form of Little Red Riding Hood, the casting was nothing short of excellent. A special mention has to be for the legend that is Brian Cox who plays Mr. Kreeg, whose relevance becomes known near the end of the film.
The thing with anthology films is you usually get a couple of barn burners for stories and then a bit of a dud. Not in the case of Trick ‘r Treat. The film gets off to a great start with a murder and mutilated corpse, and moves swiftly onto Dylan Bakers character of Steven Wilkins. You’re introduced to Brian Cox’s character as well as a grumpy old bastard who just happens to live next door to the most homicidal school principle anyone has ever put to film. Dylan’s character is so well written and acted you can’t help but love him. He does get into the Halloween spirit a little later as the characters from other stories interact throughout.
Next up a group of trick-or-treaters go to the site of a local urban legend and recall the tragic deaths of 8 mentally challenged school children in a Halloween bus massacre (You’ll never travel on one again after seeing this). Zombies rising from a watery grave. Kids meeting their demise. One could assume it’s nothing short of recompense for taking all that candy. Fear not though as it’s the homicidal parents that couldn’t wait to get rid of their kids that’s behind this massacre.
This then leads into my favourite story. We’ve already seen Laurie and her friends earlier in the film collecting their dates for the evening, and the notion that she’s a virgin is clearly apparent, but not in the way were all thinking. She’s hooked up with a guy who just happens to be our favourite serial killing Principal Steven Wilkins, dressed as a Vampire. I told you he gets into the Halloween spirit, maybe a little bit too much as he attacks Laurie. The next time we see him he appears severely injured at their bonfire party just as the girls transform into werewolves, and this is where Laurie experiences her first time, if you know what I mean. The end of arguably the best character in the film, I think we see him in a flashback scene, set to one of the coolest werewolf transformation scenes I can recall. They nail both the transformation and the werewolf. How many films can say that?
The film comes full circle with its last story, and the relevance of Brian Cox’s character is fully revealed. I don’t want to spoil anything for the people that haven’t seen Trick ‘r Treat so my lips are sealed. The ending is pretty cool, and once you figure out who he is it makes perfect sense.
It’s clear to see that Trick ‘r Treat was made by people who not only love the horror genre, but by people that understand what makes a great film. From the storytelling to the perfectly cast actors, down to the special effects makeup. There’s nothing to fault with Trick’r Treat. It may seem short at 82 minutes run time, but it’s what’s done during that time frame that’s amazing. I got hooked on the werewolf scene and am thankful I had the chance to experience the whole movie. I hope that this review brings to light an incredible film for people that are yet to experience it.
On a final Halloween themed note, think of Trick ‘r Treat as a definite treat when you ask yourself the question should I watch it or not. It belongs in any horror fans collection and comes highly recommended.
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