Directed by Michael Dougherty
Starring Dylan Baker, Rochelle Aytes, Anna Paquin, and Brain Cox
In a small town, during a large Halloween celebration, something is watching. It looks for those who are breaking the rules of Halloween and punishes those who dare to. This menacing force of autumnal fury is Sam, spirit of Halloween and keeper of its traditions. Sam looks like a child in a rather low budget scarecrow costume, wondering through the stories of a few people on Halloween night. There is a couple coming home from a long night of partying, with the wife making a grave mistake concerning jack-o-lanterns. The local Principal is having a hard time covering up his child-murdering hobby. Some kids go to an abandon quarry of local legend to scare a girl. A young woman looks for a date to a party while being pursued by a masked killer. Finally, an old man with a hatred of Halloween and a dark secret faces off with Sam. Not everyone will make it to the morning.
A quick bit of history: Trick ‘r Treat never had a theatrical run. It was made in 2007 and screened at various film festivals for the next two years until it was released direct to DVD in 2009. This is a shame, because Trick ‘r Treat is the best Halloween movie since Halloween. Also, it could very well be the movie to take up Creepshow’s mantle as the go-to anthology movie of horror fans. This film is insanely good.
I do not toss around the Creepshow comparison lightly, as Trick ‘r Treat uses the same EC Comics style to spin several tales of unfortunate souls. Also, it has a truly pitch black humor that is absolutely hilarious. It takes a dark delight in maiming and generally brutalizing everyone in it, children included. It shows how a serial killer can be a loving father. And its mascot is both adorable and ominous at the same time, more so when he is stabbing people with a lollipop. Sam is bound to be the next big horror icon, as he is too good a character and design to not see some sequel action.
The gore is satisfying and well done. Skin tears off with a sickening elasticity, a kid vomits a fountain of blood, and someone becomes their own gnarly lawn decorations. Even the spirit of Halloween has a moment were we see his impressive guts. However, blood is not sprayed with reckless abandon. Dougherty prefers to show less and leave the rest to you, indulging in a blood bath mostly to elicit some laughs. But when those scenes happen, they make you cringe in a good way.
Those looking for something to play during All Hallows Eve have to find themselves a copy of this movie. It is fun, frightening, and wonderfully made. Forget whatever you planned on watching this Halloween: Trick ‘r Treat is what you should be watching.
10 out of 10