The Festivities of All Hallows Eve have originated from ancient times and these days, it just so happens that it is now a yearly tradition when people can dress up in costumes, kids can have lots of candy and watch a marathon of horror movies on TV. Halloween can be so cool, and Michael Dougherty adapts his own short story "Season's Greetings" in “TRICK R TREAT”; it is the best movie to pay homage to Halloween. The film is the medicine for all the stupid Hollywood horror films that gets released for reasons I cannot imagine and it is the showpiece that provides genre fans a good number of laughs, scares and slight uneasiness to help bring in the ’spooky’ festivities. It has been promoted as the “best horror movie of the year” and I may just agree. (well, this isn’t really hard to accomplish really considering the horror garbage that gets released each Halloween)
Halloween is a traditional and colossal event in a small town in Ohio; the neighborhoods are all made up with flamboyant decorations to honor the festivities, there is a party in the town square and kids everywhere are ‘sugarified’ with all the ‘trick or treat’ spirit. All Hallows Eve also brings out the evil unfortunately; "The Principal"-the local school principal, Steven (Dylan Baker) goes about his questionable deeds in the cover of night; "The Halloween School Bus Massacre Revisited"- a group of kids are on a hunt for “Jack O’Lanterns” to test a local legend that tells the horrible tale of mentally challenged kids that was driven down a lake by a bus driver; "The Surprise Party"- a virginal girl named Laurie (Anna Paquin, X-Men) heads out to town to look for romance and sex while her friends entertain the local boys in the woods; "Meet Sam"- an old recluse named Kreeg (Brian Cox) is left alone to fight for his life against a creepy costumed sack-covered devil.
“Trick R Treat” preys on the appetites of horror fans for the macabre and the film succeeds. The film’s tone captures the elements of a comic book made in the 70’s such as “Witching Hour” and “Boris Karloff’s Tales of Suspense”. Writer/director Michael Dougherty has blessed us with a film that could’ve been a sequel to “Creepshow” or an episode of “Tales From the Crypt”. It has the sensibilities of the mentioned titles although it does restrain itself from the usual stylistics as the film itself is very malleable in its portrayal of its anthology immersing the screenplay in both laughs and frights with a solid execution. It does manage to sidestep expectations of campy panache and while the film does have displays of blood, it doesn’t go over-the-top in its depiction of violence. The cinematography is also very polished and fitting to its premise; nearly resembles the pages of a comic as it says "meanwhile", "earlier", and other narrations fitted in a small box. The visual effects also appear to be a blend of comic book, fairy tales and your usual horror rendering; prosthetics, mild CGI were used and all were executed to definitely fit the film's tone.
I commend the filmmakers for displaying the utmost respect of the material that it carefully breaks down into an episodic style. The film is about diverse tales of “All Hallows Eve” traditions, urban legends that are made up of werewolves, vampires, ghouls, ghost stories, legends that channel fear, magic and even minor serial killer elements. I was impressed in the manner with which the script managed to tie everything together; as it plays on our senses that took its time that takes everything into unsullied and new genre directions. Now the film isn’t your usual scary movie, as the tone and atmosphere of the film takes on a playful and impish style that is full of “Grimm” elements which wanders around dark and dreary spaces that almost channels a fable. It also has some cautionary elements for kids to never knock on the doors of strangers. The film finds its footing in all the spooky mood of the holidays.
I guess the film’s main premise all falls upon the creepy little fellow who is dressed up in a dirty costume with a burlap sack that covers his face and in my opinion, woe unto anyone who dares to remove the sack--I kid you not! He is the main link to all of the events in the film as he shows up in every tale and proves to be the screenplay‘s more powerful ingredient that pays off big time in the film’s final sequence that sets a vibe full of “Evil Dead” sensibilities with some “Pet Sematary” inspired scenes and lollipop-armed fury that just gives the film its final exclamation point. I have to say, always respect tradition and it never does hurt to follow some superstitions just to be safe. It is after all “better to be safe than sorry”.
I’ve read that this is Dougherty’s first feature film and it has been shelved for 2 years (thanks, Cenobite!) probably because of the depraved character story-arc that appears to be both terrifying and bizarrely cordial. “Trick R Treat” is a grim, dark film that channels the best it has and succeeds in what it wanted to do. The direction has exhibited a very enthusiastic style for the eve of Halloween. The film has enough touches of visuals, werewolves and vampires, ghouls and ghosts play a part in the enchanting and naughty proceedings; it also has a great presentation of the essentials in trick or treating rules. The film is delightful in its playing on the audience's need for an inventive, joyfully cruel and wicked horror film. “TRICK R TREAT” gives a great tribute to the spookiest of the yearly holidays!
**** out of **** Halloween movies are Halloween movies because they care about the popular holiday and choose to often exploit the horrors that we celebrate annually at the end of each October, and without noticing it. You've got your classic holiday flicks such as "Halloween"; then you've got your "classics-in-the-making", and oh, there are plenty of them. "Trick 'r Treat" is but one such film; a hilarious, bold, charmingly grotesque little horror flick that unfortunately … more
Trick ‘R Treat is the ultimate Halloween film. This film has all those elements that make it that perfect film to catch on hallows eve. Directed by Michael Dougherty, the film is based on his short film Seasons Greetings. When I first watched his short film, it left me wanting more… About the film, the film is an anthology of four Halloween stories. What makes the film so dark and sweet is the way they are intertwined. There is a certain … more
Sadly, this film got stuck in distribution hell as no one would pick it up for a theatrical release. Now, a year later and after having played very well at festivals, the film is out on DVD. Trick 'r Treat is a horror anthology but unlike a lot of other anthologies, it's structured differently. Instead of returning to a central place between each new segment, the stories are interwoven as characters move about the town on Halloween; stars of one story appear briefly in others … more
Poison, Drowning, Claw, Or Knife. So Many Ways To Take A Life. Five interwoven stories that occur on the same block, on the same night. A couple finds what happens when they blow a jack o' lantern out before midnight, a high school principal has a secret life as a serial killer, a college virgin might have met the right guy for her, a group of mean teens play a prank that they take too far, and a hermit is visited by a special trick or treater. It … more
Trick 'r Treat is a 2008horror film. It was written and directed by Michael Dougherty and based on his short film Season's Greetings. Originally slated for an October 5, 2007 release, it was announced in September 2007 that the film had been pushed back. Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures released the film direct to DVD on October 6, 2009 in the US & Canada, October 26 in the UK and October 28 in Australia. However, it first appeared on 7th October 2008 in Spain, during the SITGES International Film Festival of Catalonia (Sitges Film Festival).