Written & Directed by Michael Dougherty
Starring: Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, and Dylan Baker
Four interwoven stories that occur on Halloween: An everyday high school principal has a secret life as a serial killer; a college virgin might have just met the one guy for her; a group of teenagers pull a mean prank; a woman who loathes the night has to contend with her holiday-obsessed husband.
If there’s one anthology you need to catch this Halloween season, Trick ‘r Treat is it. This film is an essential Halloween tradition at my house. I urge you to grab a bowl of candy corn and seasonal brew of your choice, and cozy up with this perennial gem. Trick ‘r Treat not only honors the traditions of Samhain, it downright warns you what will happen if you dishonor those age-old traditions. This movie might not be terrifying, but is creative and fun. Since this is a relatively new film, I’m not going to review this in a blow-by-blow fashion, but instead just give you the skeleton of the movie.
The film starts with a couple returning home from a Halloween party, which quickly turns into a bloody lesson as to why you never blow out your jack-o-lantern before midnight or disrespect the holiday at all.
The opening of the movie is a cool blend of retro Halloween images from the 1950′s and comic book style imagery of the characters to come. If you love Halloween, you assuredly get the impression you’ll like the movie to follow. There isn’t a single frame of this movie that isn’t loaded with beautiful Halloween images.
Intertwining all the chapters together is a small figure dressed in grubby orange pajamas with a burlap sack over his overly round head. “Sam” makes an appearance in every portion of the film, tying everything together nicely. I should stress that the characters in this film aren’t the focus of the film; instead, Halloween itself is, and that’s a huge reason is succeeds so wildly.
Trick ‘r Treat includes:
- A rather unconventional school principal that takes his Halloween evening deadly serious. Turns out his son is a chip off the ‘ol block. Remember to always check your candy, kids.
- A bus driver that makes a sinister deal with the parents of the handicapped children he drives to school and back everyday. This chapter also delivers a bloody message to a group of young kids that let their mean-spirited Halloween prank go too far. This is my personal favorite.
- A surprise party for a group of hot, young girls (including Anna Paquin of True Blood fame) that proves things aren’t always as they appear. Don’t assume a demure, defenseless victim is under the Little Red Riding Hood costume.
- Finally, in the last chapter, we see the bus driver again as he meets “Sam” in the most unpleasant of ways. Crimes this sinister won’t stay buried, or submerged in this case.
While too many films, horror especially, are unceremoniously dumped into the direct-to-DVD route, Trick ‘r Treat shines like a star on a cold, autumn night. Don’t let another Halloween pass by without it.