Trick ‘R’ Treat (2008)
For every Halloween 2 or Saw 9 that gets released there always seems to be a good little movie that can’t seem to see the light of day. Trick ‘R’ Treat is one of these films. It languished at Warner Brothers for over year before being released recently on DVD. No one has officially said why it sat on the shelf for so long or how come it never received a theatrical release. We’ll just have to chalk this one up to bad judgment. It deserved to be shown in theaters and is a true Halloween movie. We should have seen this in the theaters instead of the last two Saw films for Halloween.
Trick r Treat is an anthology film. It’s a tribute to the old EC horror series, Tales from the Crypt. There are five interlocking stories that are shown out of chronological order, each one deals with a different rule of Halloween. The rules are familiar modern Halloween mythology: wear a costume; always check your candy; never blow out a jack o’ lantern; hand out treats. The message is simple, don’t break the rules or you’ll pay. There is an underlying thread connecting the stories but I don’t want to spoil it. The stories include some the most popular Halloween entities such as vampires, werewolves, zombies, serial killers, creepy town legends, and supernatural monsters. Some of these favorites don’t play quite like one would expect and the movie has enough surprises and misdirects to keep each of piece of this Halloween tradition montage fresh and extraordinary fun. This is not a shocking or scary film. It’s a loving tribute to the horror anthology.
The first story involves a Halloween hating young wife (Leslie Bibb) who makes a big mistake in saying “I hate Halloween!” out loud; the second follows a school principal (Dylan Baker) who moonlights as a serial killer and plans to play a really nasty trick on the local trick or treaters; the third and arguable the centerpiece of the film follows five kids (Britt McKillip, Jean-Luc Bilodeau, Samm Todd, Alberto Ghisi, Isabelle Deluce) as they go and investigate an old town legend involving a school bus massacre; the fourth is a clever tale of a young woman named Laurie (Anna Paquin) who ventures to the town parade with her sister (Lauren Lee Smith) and her friends to find some decent men (that’s all I’m going to say about that); and the final tale involves a cantankerous old hermit (Brian Cox) who is being stalked by a small child with a burlap sack over his head. This small child is the Halloween guardian, Sam. If you break a rule you will meet him.
Trick ‘r’ Treat was written and directed by Michael Dougherty. This was his directorial debut and he does a nice job here. It’s a short film; the runtime is about eighty minutes. This film does a good job of keeping things fun and throws in a few twists to boot. Just don’t go in expecting a bloodbath or any major scares and you should end up enjoying this.