Trick 'r Treat Review - Best Damn Horror Movie in Years!
by Alex Billington
October 24, 2008
I'm not a horror movie guy. Never have been, never will be. But in the last few years I've grown to respect certain films from the genre, whether for personal reasons or for critical reasons, but it's rare that I ever come across a horror movie that I genuinely love. Yesterday night I finally found one. I'm not sure whether it's my childhood affection for Halloween and the act of trick or treating that provoked my appreciation for this movie, but whatever the reason, by in the end I walked out a bigger fan of horror than I've ever been. Michael Dougherty's Trick 'r Treat is, in my own opinion, the absolute best horror movie I've seen in years and it's sadly being buried by Warner Brothers. Unless I convince them to change their mind.
I attended Moriarty's special screening of Trick 'r Treat in Hollywood last night and really didn't know what I was walking into. I had heard a few good things and knew that it was an ensemble film, but that's about it. And that's the best way to go into this. I'm hesitant to already begin talking about it because this is a classic in the making and the only way to further progress that is to make sure audiences know as little as possible going in. With that being said, I'll introduce as little of the film as possible in order to whet everyone's appetite, otherwise no one will even give this a chance when they should be.
Trick 'r Treat is a throwback to the classic Halloween horror movies of past and dwells on the holiday's age old traditions and rules that seem to have been forgotten nowadays. It features four intertwined horror stories all tied together by one creepy little villain that might as well be the next Freddy or Jason. He's so disturbing but brilliantly designed that he instantly has an unforgettable yet iconic horror look. But there's so much more than just that! From a disgruntled principal to four feisty females to a school bus disaster and teenage prank to ole Mr. Kreeg's freaky visitor, these four stories are told within just a few hours on one Halloween night. It's really a simple as that - don't break the rules of Halloween.
This is one of those movies that as soon as I walked out of it, I wanted to talk with everyone around me about every last detail. It's a fantastic film for so many reasons and I want to try and cover all of them, but that's ultimately impossible. Michael Dougherty, who wrote and directed the film, deserves so much praise for two enormous reasons: first, the writing was extraordinary for a horror film and I'm amazed that all of the stories pulled together so smoothly and the dialogue was so original; and second, his visual style was very refreshing and unique and should be an inspiration for nearly all horror directors.
Another area of Trick 'r Treat that really stood out was the acting. Dylan Baker gives one of the funniest and engaging performances in the film, although I won't reveal who his character is or what he does. Brian Cox also does a remarkable job in a role that seemed challenging to pull off as well. Additionally, I've got to mention Anna Paquin, Lauren Lee Smith, and the gorgeous Leslie Bibb, who all do a fine job as well. Just thinking about the acting, how often is it that we ever see a horror movie full of good actors? Trick 'r Treat doesn't just have good actors, it has stunning actors who really helped take this movie to the next level.
Considering all things, Trick 'r Treat might actually be a nearly perfect film. There isn't much to complain about save for some personal annoyances, particularly those surrounding some werewolves that show up - although the audience cheered in that scene during my screening, so maybe that's just a complaint only I have. Because besides that, Trick 'r Treat was pretty much a flawless horror film. So much so that I think it has the potential to be a huge hit and start a new franchise in a genre that is getting staler every year. There hasn't been a horror movie this original and this inventive since Wes Craven brought us Scream in 1996. I guess it only took twelve years to finally find the next great horror franchise.
The problem with Trick 'r Treat is that Warner Brothers, who smartly produced this in the first place, seems to have given up on it when it comes to distributing. After originally planning to release it in October of 2007, they pulled it from the schedule and cut off all promotions last minute. A year later and we haven't heard a thing and I really don't know why. What are they sacred of? I hope this screening was encouraging enough to convince them that Trick 'r Treat literally is the next big horror movie, and I mean big. It needs some strong grass roots support (like this review) and it needs to be released on Halloween. So maybe next year, if we're lucky, Warner Brothers will officially unveil Trick 'r Treat.
All that I can leave everyone with is a strong suggestion to see this movie as soon as you can. If you ever hear it mentioned again or have the opportunity to see it, don't miss it. Trick 'r Treat needs to be seen for the first time in a dark theater, with the least amount of prior knowledge, and as close to Halloween as possible. Only then will you truly be able to get the best Trick 'r Treat experience and hopefully come to love it as much as I did. I just hope Warner Brothers is smart enough to eventually provide that opportunity to moviegoers sometime in the future. It's so rare for me to find something like this, but as far as I can recall, Trick 'r Treat is the only extraordinary horror movie I've ever truly loved.