The Blog Lagoon’s 31 Days of Halloween – Day 29: Trick ‘r Treat (2007) Reviewed


You do NOT want to make fun of the kids on THIS short bus.

TRICK ‘R TREAT (2007) Reviewed
In some ways, Trick ‘r Treat is the Halloween movie I’ve always hoped for. You might have noticed that with the exception of the obvious John Carpenter classic, the holiday doesn’t get as much play as one might expect in horror movies. I can only think of a handful of horror flicks that make Halloween their narrative centerpiece. (Incidentally, you’ll not want to confuse Trick ‘r Treat with the silly “metal”-themed horror flick Trick or Treat.) And of the movies that do play with Halloween, so few of them do much to capture the actual FEEL of the holiday. (This, to me, was one of the biggest downfalls of Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake–it felt like it could be happening on any night of the year.)

Trick ‘r Treat DOES tap into everything that makes Halloween great, from seasonal tradition, to scary costumes, to urban legends. Its four anthology-style, darkly-comic horror stories easily find that beautiful elusive balance between good scares and sharp wit. Though it’s doubtful there’s much in TrT to give you nightmares, the “horror” element remains intact with fresh-feeling takes on traditional Halloween iconography. Witches, werewolves, serial killers, zombies, demons and vampires are all woven into the interconnected stories and not one of them leaves you with a “been there, done that” aftertaste.

The individual plot threads hinge on Twilight-Zone-style surprise twists, which prevents me from revealing too much in the way of story details. SO briefly: One tale, features Dylan Baker as a sinister science teacher who has strong feelings about upholding Halloween’s traditions and is up to no good at all on this particular night. Another tale (my favorite), revolves around a group of suburban trick or treaters who spend Halloween night learning the truth about a local urban legend referred to as “The Halloween School Bus Massacre.” Anna Paquin stars in the third story, as a virginal Red Riding Hood with a big surprise for any would-be wolves. The fourth and final story revolves around Trick ‘r Treat’s poster boy, Sam, who appeared here in an earlier October post. The less I reveal about Sam, the better.

I’ve read TrT referred to as feeling a little like Pulp Fiction crossed with Creepshow –and it’s not an easy comparison to dismiss. It has a lot in common with Creepshow, particularly its tone, gross-out gags and sense of humor. Like PF, the separate tales do cross paths with one another several times, and writer/director Michael Dougherty seems to have lots of fun by jerking us back and forth across the narrative timeline. It all works pretty seamlessly, and makes repeat viewings rewarding. 

TrT is one of those rare movies that makes me wonder “how could anyone NOT like this?” After Warner Brothers yanked its plans for a theatrical release (tragedy, really), it’s been quick to win a gushing cult following with people like me on board to sing its praises to anyone who stands still long enough to listen. Forget Paranormal Activity as the official Halloween movie of 2009. This is the movie you SHOULD be buzzing about…and watching TONIGHT!
*** 1/2

Watch the trailer now: (Don’t worry — it doesn’t give too much away.)

Speaking of Creepshow, you can watch it on YouTube:

~ by Number5ive on October 29, 2009.

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