Trick 'r Treat (2007)
Plot: Trick ‘r Treat explores Halloween traditions while following a group of people trying to survive the most terrifying night of the year. From a serial killer who specializes in poisoning candy; to a group of mischievous kids; to a young woman hunted by a masked stalker; and a cantankerous old hermit dealing with a demonic trick-or-treater, the film is filled with horrifying twists, turns, dark humor, and strange creatures of every variety.
My Review: I waited a long long long time to see this movie as it sat on a shelf for years and years. I heard about it during all that time and was very excited to see it. I’m not sure if info was ever released as to WHY it kept getting pushed back other then they had a few screen testing’s and decided after them to not release the movie, especially when online reviews at the time really praised the film. Maybe it was with the success of Anna Paquin and True Blood that finally got the ball rolling who knows?
From what I recall it was described as being a horror movie based on Halloween, and it would be like an anthology just like Creepshow, or Tales from the Crypt, and that it was gory and spooky. What it ended up being was more of a child’s story and so I was pretty disappointed going into it. Perhaps if I had known (or rather remembered) that it had that childlike feel to it I wouldn’t have been so disappointed. But one gets very high hopes for a movie when they hear about how good it was for years and years.
Now a year later, knowing what I’m was getting into, and it being the start of Fall and close to the Halloween season I decided to give the movie another try. This review is based on my second impression of the film.
Halloween is by far one of my favorite Holidays, and the best time of year. I LOVE Fall, the leaves, the smell, the pumpkins, the chill in the air. But the best part about Halloween for me, is the decorations and costumes. This movie has plenty. The Halloween imagery is amazing in this film. Especially the front yard with all the Jack O’ Lanterns. Its amazing. The Halloween feeling in this movie really reminded me of when I was a child/teen/Young Adult in New England.
Another thing that I really liked about this movie was the fact that Halloween lore is ALL over the film. We get descriptions from some of the kids, and the principal even mentions different things about Halloween and how kids today don’t appreciate it or in some cases don’t even know about lore surrounding Halloween. Its sad, but its true. Shoot in most schools these days they won’t allow you to dress up. I remember dressing up in elementary school and touring the school with our classes to show off our costumes. Its almost frowned upon in some areas to even celebrate! What a shame.
But, getting back to the movie…This movie is a bunch of short little stories. Wrapped around to fit into one main story. Basically while each story is going on, so are other stories and we see little events in each story that feature different main characters from the other stories. Got that? Okay!
The intro story we get is a man and woman come home from somewhere in costume. The woman doesn’t like Halloween and wants to undecorate their very decorated lawn. One of them ends up murdered by an unseen assailant. We are then taken to earlier that evening…Where we discover there is a huge Halloween parade/event going on in town. It looks similar to Mardi Gras but Halloween style…we eventually see these two characters and the quite a few of the other main characters there.
Then we meet up with four young ladies at a costume store dressing up and having a good time. They discuss meeting dates and going to a party. They too make their way through the street party, eventually splitting up from one of the girls and heading out to their own party. From there on we mainly see the adventure of the one character, and it has a nice spin to it just like the other stories.
Then we meet a chubby little kid, Charlie, taking a bunch of candy from the steps of a house. Turns out this is the school principals house, and apparently he moonlights as a killer in the evenings. He’s got a little more going for him then we know. He appears in one of the other stories as well.
There is also a group of kids going door to door trick ‘r treating collecting jack o’ lanterns. They end up heading to where the “Halloween School Bus Massacre” took place. It’s a town legend where a bunch of children were killed. During this time we see a flashback to show us the story as one of the kids talks about it. Our trick ‘r treating children have brought the jack o’ lanterns as an offering to the children who’ve died there.
Last but not least, the story about the old man who lives next door to the principal’s house. Turns out he’s someone from one of the other stories. 90% of this story I did not like as this story involves Sam.
Throughout the stories we see “Sam”. He appears to be a little kid in a costume with some sort of potato sack as a head. How do we know this is “Sam”? In the beginning of the movie during the credits we get a little info on the stories coming up and we see a photo with the “child”. But just WHAT is Sam? Is he a ghost? Is he a child? We know from one scene that he can’t be a human. But they never explain it. There is a lot of talk throughout the movie about Halloween being the one night that spirits can come out. So its easy enough to say that Sam is a ghost or demon child who really likes Halloween. But its been said by many that Sam is the essence of Halloween. The Spirit of Halloween, there to make sure nobody disrespects the holiday or breaks the rules set. Such as blowing out the candle of the pumpkin like we see in the first story. Who really knows just what Sam is…
I just find the final story with Sam is what makes this movie lame for me. It wasn’t needed. I would have enjoyed it more if Sam was just there in the different stories and the opening/closing. Other then this last story. I enjoyed them all.
Gore/FX: Unlike a lot of other horror movies there are child deaths in this movie. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons it took forever to be released. Another cool skin ripping scene involving Werewolves. However, the Werewolves themselves don’t look so great. A majority of the actual death scenes happen off screen, those we do see aren’t terribly graphic. But overall the deaths are creative.
Sexual Content: Nude breasts on TV screen while a guy watches a porno. Some girls in bras getting dressed in their costumes. A scene where there is a werewolf transformation where breasts are shown. And loads of talk here and there about sexual things.
Acting: By far one of the best acted straight to DVD films I think I’ve ever seen. And many of the cast members you will recognize from other films or shows. I’m sure Anna Paquin is probably the one everyone hears about being in this film.
Overall: I think all the anticipation, and all the great reviews really ruined thoughts on this film the first time around. My expectations were sky high. I was expecting to feel a classic 80s horror film. But in the end it felt like a made for TV children’s horror movie. So what did I think the 2nd time around? I liked it. However, even with the language, the nudity, and gore, it still has that childish feel to it. In the end I wish that it had been a movie that was around when I was a kid. Since I didn’t care for the final story with Sam I have to dock a star from the rating.
View The Trailer