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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Movie Reviews: TRICK R TREAT

Thursday, October 22, 2009
Movie Reviews: TRICK R TREAT


It is said that Halloween is the night when the dead rise to walk among us and other unspeakable things roam free. The rituals of All Hallows Eve were devised to protect us from their evil mischief, and one small town is about to be taught a terrifying lesson that some traditions are best not forgotten. Nothing is what it seems when a suburban couple learns the dangers of blowing out a Jack-o-Lantern before midnight; four women cross paths with a costumed stalker at a local festival; a group of pranksters goes too far and discovers the horrifying truth buried in a local legend; and a cantankerous old hermit is visited by a strange trick-or-treater with a few bones to pick. Costumes and candy, ghouls and goblins, monsters and mayhem...the tricks and treats of Halloween turn deadly as strange creatures of every variety—human and otherwise—try to survive the scariest night of the year.

Cast: Brian Cox, Anna Paquin, Dylan Baker, Leslie Bibb, Tahmoh Penikett

Director: Michael Dougherty

Originally intended release date October 5, 2007

Rated R for some sexuality/nudity, horror violence and language

Genres: Horror, Psychological Thriller, Ensemble Film


Stories of studio buffoonery are hardly anything new. Some movies and directors get tossed and beat around when a studio can’t figure out what to do with a film. Some never see the light of day at all or are given an unceremoniously short theatrical release followed quickly by being shoveled off to DVD. Michael Dougherty’s Trick R Treat sat on the shelves for nearly 2 full years before Warner Brothers decided to finally let it see the light of day via a direct to DVD release. Typical films cast off to direct to DVD hell are justifiable horrible and are probably best suited to have been seen by as few people as possible. Trick R Treat is not one of those films. It’s a true oddity that really makes you wonder how studio head couldn’t see the potential in this film. Michael Dougherty wrote and directed this incredibly fun Halloween anthology that pays homage to classics like Creepshow and Tales from the Crypt. Dougherty wrote a razor sharp script that’s effectively funny and frightening. He’s clearly a genre fan and it shows throughout as he interweaves the 4 divergent storylines into each other in a non linear fashion. He gives us fairly established motifs and conceits but gives them a nice little spin to make them interesting and fresh. Sam, the burlap masked midget, is equally familiar yet different and he doesn’t react the way you’d expect a character like him to. The direction is fun and colorful, doing a wonderful job of capturing the Halloween spirit when it’s in full force. Dougherty keeps a brisk pace moving the stories slow enough for you to savor them but he never lingers too much, kind of like going from house to house trick r treating. The director’s energy and enthusiasm is palpable and it extends to the cast as well. The most recognizable faces are Anna Paquin, Brian Cox and Dylan Barker. They all do very well in their roles playing up their stereotypical characters with a wink of a potential twist. The younger members of the cast, made up of primarily unknowns, are surprisingly effective and deserve big kudos for their work. At 82 minutes Trick R Treat is terribly short and it flies by, a good trait for films like this which make repeat viewings easier and required.


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