Every year there are a billion web sites trumpeting the upcoming Summer releases, Rotten Tomatoes, imdb etc. I don’t read them all but I definitely trawl through a few to see what might be worth checking out in advance. Around 18 months ago Trick R Treat came up on more than a few such lists.
Only it never seemed to come off them onto the “New Releases” list. I can’t for the life of me see why.
This is by no means an all time great, but it is so much better than 20 odd absolute shitfests that were actually fast-tracked into cinemas over the last year to cash in on the current renaissance that horror has been enjoying lately.
- The Last House on the Left
- Halloween 2
- The Unborn
- The Uninvited
- Final Destination
- Sorority Row
Now re-read that list above and tell me what was a MUST SEE in cinemas.
Trick R Treat is hardly a frightening flick, but it is sharp, clever, amusing, inventive and most of all fun. None of those words scream “direct to DVD” to me, but that is what happened anyway.
Halloween has never really taken root in Australia, but over the last decade or so it has become more evident that Aussie kids are aware of the possibilities of free lollies and late nights, and the pressure seems to be going back on parents and homeowners to take it seriously. I know that we never bothered getting a serious stash of lollies ready until around three years ago, and last year from memory our house got door-knocked at least 20 times.
What has been true for many years is that horror movies are more popular around this time of year, as many are made for US release to coincide with the holiday.
The plot of Trick R Treat is actually hard to describe, it is more a series of initially random events involving the same group of characters than a linear storyline. They all take place on Halloween (natch) in a small US town that obviously takes the night seriously.
The main combatants of the film include:
A young couple arriving home from the night’s festivities, with the young woman knocking back a kind offer of intercourse in favour of cleaning up the Halloween decorations in the yard.
The local school principal and his dealings with a trick or treater (played by the doofy kid from Bad Santa), which is interrupted by his son and a grumpy neighbour.
Four nubile young skanks prepping for a night where they are all hoping to “pull”, including two absolute hotties and a pair of sisters, one of whom is Anna Paquin as a somewhat reluctant trollop dressed as Red Riding Hood.
A group of kids who attempt to pay respect to the victims of a past local tragedy involving a crashed school bus, and who rope in an unpopular young woman for the ceremony.
The afore-mentioned grumpy neighbour of the School Principal, obviously not a fan of Halloween, and his dealings with celebrating kids.
Early on there are a few more fake scares than I would have liked, you know where the camera lingers, the music builds, the character’s hand hovers….. and nothing happens. I started then to worry that the release of the film was delayed with cause but thankfully that feeling was short lived.
The plot interweaves “Pulp Fiction” style between the seemingly random events, and we gradually see how all these events are practically related, and often impact other character’s stories later on, (or at times earlier on, there are a few flashbacks).
There is also a little character in a sack over a pumpkin-head outfit who pops up in the periphery of all stories, he finally has his own scene near the very end in a scene that is worth the wait.
How this wasn’t released to cinemas is beyond me. It seems to have every key element required to cash in big time, it is funny, has some good scares, sexy teens and a little innuendo without overstepping the gore or bad taste boundaries. I would have thought with a little advertising and some word of mouth this would have seen a huge audience over the Halloween period from the teens that will, if we’re honest, go and see almost anything anyway.
It most certainly deserves far more than a direct to DVD release, hopefully the inevitable sequel sees a better fate.
Final Rating – 7.5 – 10. A little tame to be considered a great horror film, this will find itself on a great many “underrated” lists in coming years, and will no doubt prove a great introduction to the horror genre for many curious teens in years to come. You could do an awful lot worse.