This is not going to be an easy review. It’s like telling a close friend that their girlfriend is cheating on them with the guy who wipes the sweat off the gym equipment at the YMCA. And that sucks because you really like your friend, but you admit that he did leave his toenail clippings all over her house and she is sort of justified. That’s what Trick r Treat was like for me. I really liked it but it didn’t live up to my expectations. That could be partly since I’ve been hearing how great it is for the past 2 years and being excited to see it so long. The fact that this movie was released straight to DVD is a tragedy. This would be a perfect movie to see in the theater with a bunch of friends. I will definitely give this movie another viewing and it would work nicely as a double feature alongside Creepshow.
What Trick r Treat does, it does very well; and that is to evoke the mood of Halloween. Any fan of the holiday will eat this sht up just like I did. The colors of autumn, the jack-o-lanterns lining the leaf covered roads, the revelers running through the streets with reckless abandon. The movie looks great and it will put you in the mood for this time of year. There are different stories told in this movie and the way that they flow together is done very well. It never lingers so long that you want to see the next part before one story wraps up. I’ll give a quick rundown of the stories and my thoughts on each of them.
The first is a mini story of a couple coming home from a party. The woman snuffs out a pumpkin at the behest of her lover’s warnings of the consequences. She complains about him not cleaning the yard up so she takes it upon herself to do it while he goes upstairs to watch porn. The yard is strewn with scarecrow ghosts and underneath one of them is Sam, the burlap sack wearing creepy guy who follows each of the people in these stories. Sam takes this woman out with a lollipop (yeah you read that right) and well, the ending is pretty great. This was a nice way to open the movie and lets you know what you can expect.
The second story is of a high school principal played by Dylan Baker. A heavy set kid comes up and tries to take a whole bowl of candy until the man comes out and sits him down telling him of the traditions of Halloween. After seeing Todd Solondz ‘Happiness’ I always think Mr. Baker is going to rape some kid. But as it turns out he is a serial killer and poisons the kid who vomits blood all over the place. I won?t give away anymore but this was probably my favorite of the stories. It’s full of dark humor which I love and the end to this tale is great, it also probably sealed the R rating this movie got.
The next story is of Anna Paquin and her whore friends. They are trying out costumes and flirting with the staff of a Halloween store. They hint that Paquin’s character is a virgin and she just needs to get it over with, so they are going to help her find that special stranger. The girls go to a party but Paquin decides to walk there instead. A man who might or might not be a vampire follows her through the woods. When they get to the party we learn the true nature of ‘losing it’. This was probably the weakest of the stories for me. There really isn?t any character development and when you find out the twist (which is actually done in a cool way) you really aren’t that excited about it.
In what had the potential to be the best part of this movie comes the tale of the short bus kids and the cliff of destiny. Yes a bus full of retarded children are on their way to school one day. They are all dressed in horrifying paper Mache masks and costumes. We learn through narration of children of the present that the parents of these kids paid the bus driver to drive them off into a quarry and rid their lives of the heartache of having them. The bus driver succeeds but barely as he goes over with them, but makes it out alive. The children telling the story have gone back to the scene of the crime to pay homage to those lost in Bus-Cliff ’77. They bring along with them an odd young girl and when they take the elevator down to the bottom the true reason comes out. They play a prank on the girl by making her think that the children have come back to life. She is obviously upset but soon they hear moans coming from the lake. The real children have come back to life and take the others out one by one as the strange girl makes her way back up in the elevator; locking the others out. The story is nice and creepy but the ending comes so quickly that any suspense is ruined. This was the story I was really looking forward to and to have it end this way was just a disappointment.
The finale tale is The Old Man and the Sam. Brian Cox plays the old drunk and the scrooge of Halloween. While sipping from wild turkey he hears noises. When he goes to check it out, it’s that lovable scamp, Sam! They fight and finally the old man gets the upper hand. We get to see what is under that mask. Spoiler Warning! Now I’m someone who can suspend my belief and I mean it’s a horror movie for god’s sake. But we find out that Sam is a pumpkin head. Not the Lance Henriksen one, but a really cheap looking mask that is far more ridiculous than it is scary. He gets shot and pumpkin goo comes out. I wouldn’t have minded so much if the costume looked cool, but it just looks bad. And being that this is the last impression I have of the movie that’s not a good thing.
The biggest failure of this movie is also a crucial one. It forgot to be scary. I remember seeing the trailer for this movie for the first time and it looked like a good scary movie. Something that I would like for a change, at least with a couple jumps. But for as much fun as I had watching it there wasn’t one moment that I could even come close to saying I was scared. I don’t know if that’s the movie’s fault, or if it’s mine. I’ve grown up watching horror movies. I started with the universal monsters and worked my way through every part of the genre. But now I’m in the point where I just it’s hard to find much of anything scary anymore. I almost forget what it feels like anymore. I just miss those days of staying up late at night to watch a horror movie. Then when it’s over you run to turn on any light you can. And you sit up in bed watching the shadows move on the wall. Each creak of the floor is produced by something with large fangs hiding in the darkness just waiting for you to shut your eyes. I miss that feeling as weird as that sounds.
That being said, I think this movie is definitely worth your time. If you love Halloween you’ll enjoy the touches and the look of the movie. I think most people will enjoy this movie, and some will enjoy it a lot more than I did. It’s a decent movie, a good holiday theme, but just don’t expect to sleep with the lights on.