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A Horror Film That Channels the Macabre and the Festivities of Halloween!

  • Oct 7, 2009
Anna Paquin, Moneca Delain, Rochelle Aytes and Lauren Lee Smith in "Trick 'r Treat."
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)

A scene from "Trick 'r Treat."

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.

Brett Kelly and Dylan Baker in "Trick 'r Treat."

“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.
A scene from "Trick 'r Treat."
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!
Highly Recommended! [4+ Stars]

Leslie Bibb in "Trick 'r Treat."

poster testing the legend of the bus driver... anna paquin Brian Cox

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October 21, 2010
I still need to watch this one again, this is the perfect time to do it.
October 08, 2009
Okay, I gotta read Fangoria more often. I'm outta the loop. On the list you go, my beauty.
October 09, 2009
If it wasn't for Cenobite I would never have heard about this movie either.
October 09, 2009
That's the great thing about this, we can all share The Knowledge.
October 08, 2009
I was baffled by the delayed release of this, since it was first advertised on the 300 DVD and then didn't get a release until just recently. The preview made it look a lot like a bad episode of Buffy, but I keep hearing generally good things about it, so it may need to go on my "movies to reconsider watching" list, which takes a lesser priority than my "films to watch" and "films I must watch" lists.
October 09, 2009
Count, if you liked CREEPSHOW then you will enjoy this.
October 09, 2009
I always get "Creepshow" and "Funhouse" confused. Which was which again?
October 10, 2009
Creepshow is an anthology of horror shorts with different settings and themes: http://www.amazon.com/Creepshow-Snap-Case-Ha...d&qid=1255152572&sr=8-2 Funhouse occurs mainly in a carnival I think--my memory is garbage ; http://www.amazon.com/Funhouse-Elizabeth-Ber...d&qid=1255152632&sr=1-2
October 10, 2009
Okay, so "Creepshow" was the one that was partly inspired by horror comics and "Black Sabbath" and the other was the Tobe Hooper slasher flick. Now I remember. I actually, really liked both, but damn, it's been a while since I've seen either.
October 10, 2009
Me too. However CREEPSHOW gets played every Halloween week so I may get the chance to see it again...oh, check out my latest review wouldja? went to the movies again...
October 07, 2009
Man, thanks so much for sharing this one with us. I bought my own copy & will be watching it very shortly. I've been waiting for this one almost two years now or so & it would seem this one really raises the bar on our beloved horror genre. You too cool Woo!!
October 07, 2009
Dude I gave you a shout out too! see it? please join me with a review under this data point or add to your existing write up...
October 07, 2009
You got it! This deserves it proper write-up so I will throw that on my list of things to do. Hmm, should I add to my original write-up or just draft a whole new review? Oh, muchas gracias for the shout out papi...
October 08, 2009
see if you edit your older write up then it won't show in the 1st page of your profile page (unless you select 'feature review') because of the date unless you select "featured" in your actions. You'll have to delete the old one to post a new one in the same data point I think...but maybe not.
More Trick 'r Treat reviews
review by . October 19, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**** 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 …
review by . July 18, 2010
       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 …
review by . October 22, 2009
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 …
review by . May 19, 2009
Will Trick 'R Treat Ever See The Light Of Day?
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 …
Quick Tip by . October 17, 2009
Perhaps one of the best (if not the greatest) horror flick ever made about Halloween. This would make John Carpenter & others proud.
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William ()
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Please "Like" Film and Movies and Keep the Economy strong....LOL!!      My Interests: Movies, Anime, History, Martial Arts, Comics, Entertainment,Cooking, Things I don't … more
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About this movie


Trick 'r Treat is a 2008 horror 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).
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Genre: Horror, Action, Adventure
Release Date: October 5, 2007
MPAA Rating: R

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