Trick ‘R Treat (2009)

Directed By: Michael Dougherty
Written By: Michael Dougherty
Starring: Dylan Baker
  Brian Cox
  Anna Paquin
  Leslie Bibb
Trick ‘R Treat

Trick ‘R Treat has been a long time coming. Originally pencilled in for an October 2007 release, it was pulled by the production company before ever being shown theatrically. There were rumours abound that it would have a Halloween 2008 release but again, nothing emerged. Two years later and it’s finally being granted a Halloween 2009 release, albeit a straight-to-DVD one, in the UK at least.

Comprising of four stories, Trick ‘R Treat is a fantastic anthology film and certainly the best Halloween-set movie for quite some years. The four stories are as follows; four young women predatorily try to find dates for a Halloween party, a High School principal explores his secret life as a serial killer, a group of children taunt a peer with a local urban myth and a young man tries to get his girlfriend into the spirit of the season with little success.

In the grand tradition of movies like Pulp Fiction, the events aren’t chronological (although they make much more sense on first viewing in this case) but they are all connected, if somewhat tenuously. Discovering how they’re connected is only half the fun.

There isn’t much in the way of gore or scares, the focus in this case is firmly on fun with a capital ‘F’. Each story is infused with an obvious sense of frivolity and festivity and each has it’s own wry charm. Starring a wonderful ensemble cast that includes Brian Cox, Anna Paquin and Dylan Baker, Trick ’R Treat is an exercise in spooky joy from beginning to end. The makers have also created a wonderful little antagonist in ‘Sam’ who manages to be both cute and terrifying at the same time.

From the soundtrack to the rich visuals, there was obviously a lot of attention paid to detail throughout. There are sly nods at many other films but Trick ‘R Treat is never derivative, nor is it particularly original either. It borrows from, and pays homage to many other horror films, which smacks of a film that wants to give something back as a mark of respect rather than to plagiarise.

Despite a brief lag in the middle of the film, the pacing is near perfect and leaves little time for the viewer to ever become bored. Each of the four stories is given just enough time to play out without having to resort to hammering their respective conclusions home.

Trick ‘R Treat isn’t a perfect film and those that have been building their hopes up over the last two years whilst waiting for its long overdue release may be disappointed. For everyone else, there’s a lot to enjoy here and it’s a film that encompasses everything that’s great about Halloween. It’s certainly worth revisiting once a year, so make sure that on the 31st of October you’re accompanied by some friends and some beers, and be sure to get into the spirit of the season or ‘Sam’ might just pay you a visit, brandishing a razor sharp lollipop, with a murderous twinkle in his eye.

Rating: ★★★★★★½☆☆☆

One Comment on “Trick ‘R Treat”

  1. Aaron Gillott says:

    I’m a fan of anthology horror in general so I’ve been looking forward to this since I heard about it, and I agree that it’s a lot of goofy fun, reminded me of “Creepshow” and “Tales from the Darkside: The Movie” (rather than say the old Amicus anthologies). I’m still in two minds whether I think the “Pulp Fiction” linkage works or not, though, it might have worked just as well in a more traditional style with the stories separate with a wraparound story joining them, but I was entertained and can see myself watching it again, probably one of those fun ones to pull out on Halloween.

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