Throwback Review: Trick ‘r Treat

Posted: October 29, 2014 in Horror Blog

This film is probably one of the most praised horror films of the last decade, and for good reason. While it has some minor flaws, the concept is the perfect blend of classic and new while really capturing the spirit of every horror geeks favorite holiday- Halloween. For several years horror fanatics had to wait for this to be finally released. I remember seeing the original trailer before the 300 DVD in 2006, and being super excited. While it played at conventions and festivals, it wasn’t until 2009 that most people were finally able to watch it. And man, was it worth the wait,

Trick ‘r Treat is an anthology, telling several small stories during the entire length of the film. There is the couple, where the husband loves Halloween and the wife does not. There is the murderous school principle and his son, A band of teenage girls looking for a good time on All Hallow’s Eve, a group of kids who wish to “pay their respects to the dead,” and a crotchety old man who seemingly hates all that Halloween is. All of these stories tie together with many different twists and turns that you’ll never see coming, and the journey is essentially tied together by Sam- the spirit of Halloween which takes the form of a small child. He’s out to make sure that the “rules” of the holiday are being upheld and respected. Otherwise there may be dire consequences.

Not since the original Halloween I feel has there been a film for this holiday that every horror fan feels the need to pop in during the month of October. This movie does something that is surprisingly hard in movies, and that is actually capturing the essence of what makes Halloween so great. Out of all of the horror films that are centered around the holiday I feel like there are only a couple that actually get that “feeling” right, and that goes for the Halloween franchise as well (I think only three, maybe four of those movies nail that feeling.) It’s a feeling that can’t be fit into words. It isn’t just the pumpkins, the colors, the leaves, the costumes, and the trick or treating. It’s something else. It’s like an atmosphere thing; it’s something in the air, and around you. It’s essentially what Sam is, as a character- the essence of Halloween. Trick ‘r Treat not only delivers all of the traditional Halloween visuals but gives us that Halloween feeling of wonder, sinisterness, and secrecy.

The stories start off fairly cliche, but each develop with a twist that comes out of left field. At times there will be little nods or hits as to what is going to happen, but generally you will not actually pick up on them until your second and third view. Heck, I’m still finding new winks and connections that I never noticed before when I watch it. While the film itself is a tad on the shorter side, and I (among many I’m sure) would have rather had seen it go on longer, the short running time doesn’t prohibit from any of the stories from having a beginning, middle, or end. It makes for very tight writing.

While I don’t have any problems with the movie, there are a few unanswered questions that always never fail to puzzle me upon watching the movie. Such as, why the heck does Steve Wilkins feel the need to dress up and attack young women as a vampire? He seems like a very effective and efficient killer, especially with poison, knives, and shovels. Why, then, put those teeth on and drink the blood of people? That fetish is never explained in the film, and plus it just seems like a very sloppy and dangerous way to commit murder. You’re eventually either a.) going to have someone escape for good, or b.) try it on someone who will turn the tables…. …. Secondly, Rhonda. That character specifically is literally, like, the only one that doesn’t connect to any of the other stories in any way. Her story comes, and while the dead troubled kids do play a part later Rhonda is just kind of forgotten and done. I liked her character and felt like she had more potential than what we saw.

The cinematography in this film is great, especially for the flashback scene involving the troubled kids. It’s absolutely beautiful and captures a real dreamlike quality. The quality of film-making mixed in with the genuinely mesmerizing and creepy score by Douglas Pipes makes for one heck of an experience. The whole film is eye and ear candy.

The effects are great, only using CG when needed. The rest are practical effects, and as I have said before- the more practical effects the better in films. It really gives this film an edge I feel to have so many unique effects, and to have them almost all be done on set rather than by a computer. Case and point is the werewolf transformation scene. AMAZING. Not only is a great and original type of werewolf transformation, hardly any computer effects were used. And when they were it was very minimal and seemed only used to make the applications and practical effects pop more. That scene is a perfect marriage of CGI, makeup, and “Sweet Dreams.”

In the end Trick ‘r Treat is an absolute MUST for your Halloween viewing list. It’s very much in the vein of anthologies like Creepshow, and Tales from the Crypt yet stays entirely original for the most part. It the Halloween season’s A Christmas Story, and with rumors of a sequel entering production soon I can’t help but anticipate what tales Sam will lead us through next. If you haven’t watched it yet this season, go pop it in as soon as possible. The film is a great mixture of dark humor, thrills, and horror- all of which are mixed together with splashes of blood, candy, and pumpkin guts. Be sure to pop this film in, and enjoy a bowl of candy corn between now and Friday. Because, as we all know, Halloween is the one time of year where the dead and all sorts of other things roam free, and you wouldn’t want to piss them off now… would you?

  1. […] job of getting that “Halloween feeling” down. That same feeling I talked about in my Trick ‘r Treat review. I don’t know how to specifically describe it but there is a feeling to Halloween as a […]


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