You know, usually when a movie sits on a shelf for two years, there is a good reason for it. But in the case of Michael Dougherty’s Trick’r Treat? I cannot see why Warner Brothers took so long. It was ready in 2007, yet Warner Brothers was hesitant to release it.
When I sat down to watch this film, I had built up some high hopes. The trailer looked good and people I respect were singing it’s praises.
It’s easily the best horror anthology since Creepshow. Horror Anthologies are a mixed bag, and filmmakers get them wrong far more than they get them right. All to often they are silly in the wrong ways, lack punch, have a lame host, are to reliant on the host, etc. The framing device can also make or break a film. Creepshow’s comic book framing device is an example of getting it right.
Trick’rTreat’s framing device is the small town Halloween celebration. We are treated to a series of four stories that are loosely connected, as characters wander in and out of other stories. The stories are also unified by the presence of Sam, the creepy childlike trick or treating creature who appears ever so randomly in all but one story, where he plays a larger role.
The cast is stellar, with Anna Paquin playing the young virgin seeking her first partner, Dylan Baker as the creepy Principal and Brian Cox as the guy who hates Halloween. Part of what really works is the film’s dark sense of humor. The film is clearly meant to be fun, not merely a frightfest. It’s gory, but not like Saw, where it is a slow indulgence…the gore serves the film, not the other way around. Oh, and pretty girls.
There have been comparisons to Pulp Fiction, mainly because the film has that whole “jumping around in time” thing going on. But that is really part of the fun, you see glimpses of event or people wandering by, and later you discover just where they were coming from. The way the stories are intertwined is a wonderful bit of storytelling. Director and writer Michael Dougherty tells some great stories, and shows that he understands visual storytelling and makes the most of his visuals. There are so many moments that are just… awesome to see (including two instances of houses immersed in pumpkins). I really feel like I cannot say much without giving away the many great moments. This is a love letter to Halloween, which makes it perfect for me. Halloween is honestly my favoritest holiday. Just let me say, rent Trick’r Treat or better yet? Buy it. I agree with Jeffrey Wells, Warner Brothers has a potential franchise here. I hope Dougherty gives us at least one more.
A side note…Cox wanted the make up people to make him look like John Carpenter-director/writer of Halloween. Dougherty was only all to happy to oblige.