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3 reviews, 12 user ratings

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Trick 'r Treat
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Great Halloween fun."
5 stars

Like a lot of recent horror movies, "Trick 'r Treat" comes burdened with more advance hype than it was designed to bear. Forget the hype and go into it cold. You'll be rewarded with a richly fun tribute to Halloween and all the monsters it has to offer.

This first feature by Michael Dougherty (perhaps best known for working on the scripts of X2 and Superman Returns for Bryan Singer, who serves here as a producer), Trick 'r Treat is a candy bag overflowing with goodies for horror fans. In an extremely abbreviated running time (82 minutes with credits), the film manages to be a thick anthology of any number of tropes, legends, and all-around nasty stuff. Problem is, I can't talk much about it without blowing it for you, since the fun is in discovering how the four stories herein are connected.

I can tell you that Dougherty, cinematographer Glen MacPherson (paying visual homage to all the horror masters), and composer Douglas Pipes (who delivers an entertainingly loud, Elfmanesque score) serve up an atmospheric feast that looks and sounds gorgeous catch it on Blu-ray if you can and earns the perhaps obvious comparisons to George A. Romero's Creepshow. There's a mysterious little character called Sam (short for Samhain, I'm guessing) who punishes people for not "following the rules of Halloween," but Dougherty and his crew should feel safe in that regard; their film follows every rule.

Hate Halloween? Disdain costume parties and turn your lights off to dissuade begging tots in disguise? This isn't your movie; indeed, people like you die in this movie. If, on the other hand, October is your favorite month, Trick 'r Treat reminds you of why. There have certainly been, in recent years, enough reasons to forget why; the progressively insipid Saw series has owned Halloween weekend (at least until Paranormal Activity unseated it), and horror in general has trended towards grim, glum remakes from the Michael Bay factory. Trick 'r Treat, among other things, restores the fun to horror movies. Why Warner sat on it (eventually consigning it to a direct-to-disc release) rather than popping it into theaters two years ago as a possible Saw-killer is beyond me.

I shouldn't even really talk about most of the characters, though the eclectic cast includes Anna Paquin, Dylan Baker, and Brian Cox, all of whom (like everyone else onscreen) get into the spirit of the occasion, as if attending a terrific Halloween party, which, in effect, the movie is. Trick 'r Treat is also not shy about killing the underage; I wondered fleetingly if that's part of the reason it never saw a wide release. All bets are off; people you expect to survive don't, and people you expect to die don't. In some respects, Dougherty subverts the same tropes he deals in so lovingly.

"Trick 'r Treat" did not "scare" me. I don't think that's really its game plan. It is a valentine to old-school horror fans, and it casually shuffles the supernatural into its deck after starting out like a typical slasher film. That might throw off some viewers expecting something meaner, more "realistic" and torture-pornographic. For those who grew up on "Famous Monsters" and "Fangoria" and "Creature Double Feature," it's a gift and a new perennial to take down and enjoy every October 31st. This movie loves Halloween so much you can almost taste the candy corn.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=19335&reviewer=416
originally posted: 10/29/09 22:22:31
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Fantasia Festival For more in the 2009 Fantasia International Film Festival series, click here.
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User Comments

2/20/17 morris campbell good horror anthology perfect 4 halloween viewing 4 stars
12/09/16 Langano Overrated campy fun. 3 stars
10/03/11 Flegetanis The best film tribute to the weirdest of days, scary, fun, and satisfying October fare. 5 stars
9/10/11 Megalodon79 If you don't enjoy this film, you don't enjoy Halloween. period. This is an instant classic 5 stars
3/22/11 Justin Great Damn Movie. 5 stars
1/21/11 penisslicer How does it get good reviews? Bounces all over the place yet is boring 2 stars
9/18/10 Erin Made by idiots for idiots 1 stars
7/23/10 art A SPOOKY MOVIE! 3 stars
5/18/10 ikkin74 A nice surprise! Watch it! 5 stars
11/26/09 Micah Love it, love it, love it. One of the best horror collection movies ever. 5 stars
11/09/09 ES Def a good watch for horror fans 4 stars
10/13/09 karamashi Outstanding! One of the best horror films of recent years and even ever. 5 stars
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  DVD: 06-Oct-2009


  DVD: 06-Oct-2009

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