So what did Hollywood decide to do when a fresh, quality film was made that actually paid tribute to those 80’s Halloween flicks that got everything right? Why keep it on the shelf for a couple years and then file it under "straight-to-DVD" of course! Trick 'r Treat is the ultimate Halloween-time horror flick, one that should make the previously named jigsaw films bow their heads in shame. It’s by no means a perfect flick, and it won’t win any Oscars (what horror film would?), but hot damn does it deliver the fun and creep factor.
I’m thinkin’ the reason it was shelved is because some idiots didn’t know how to market this thing (I’m burning future bridges left and right here). Unlike the recent slate of straight-forward slasher flicks, Trick r Treat actually gives us not one but four fun, short stories, in the vain of “Tales From the Crypt” and “Creepshow”, minus the kooky host. Trick r Treat is not just a film that takes place on Halloween, it's actually about Halloween. And that's what makes it so great.
The dialogue and storylines ain’t exactly groundbreaking, but what I loved about all of these tales is that they never ended up going where I thought they would (Anna Paquin’s especially). Sure, as is typical with the horror genre, people in these stories often meet gruesome fates, but writer/director Michael Dougherty slips in some fun little last-minute twists that most people won’t see coming.
Another particularly solid aspect of the film is the cinematography. Cinematographer Glen MacPherson knows exactly how to set the mood of Halloween night, with an endless army of glowing jackolanterns and a nice layer of fog at just the right times to create a mysterious, creepy vibe. The hand-held, gritty, (and insanely overly stylized) look of the recent Chainsaw and Friday the 13th remakes this is not- camerawork here is played out much more for thrill factor then style points or ego-stroking (my bridges just keep on burnin’).
There are of course some flaws here and there. Editing of the film could use some work (didn't like the frequent and uneven switching between stories), and the acting here is nothing to write home about. That said, the always-reliable Brian Cox and Dylan Baker kick off their shoes and relish the opportunity to inject loads of fun and campiness into their respective roles, resulting in some really fun stuff. Oh and lets not forget about the little pumpkin-headed freak. If this film got the wide theatrical release it deserved, he’d definitely join the ranks of Chucky and the lil psycho from Pet Semetary as the creepiest child-like terrors in the genre. Damn you Hollywood for blackballing this baby. That’s OK, cuz I’m…umm…really looking forward to the 3rd film in the Halloween remake saga. Yeah.
The Lore and Legends of Halloween (27:25) - Narrated by Brian Cox, this educational and well-crafted featurette tells you anything and everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Halloween’s history. It also cleverly functions as a behind-the-scenes for the film. Definitely watch this AFTER the film though as they spoil every story’s ending.
"Seasons Greetings" Animated Short (3:51) - Michael Dougherty’s animated short that inspired the film. Pretty ghetto animation but a fun, dark little tale for sure.
Bus Scene FX Comparison (1:13) - A very short little side-by-side comparison of a VFX shot for the bus crash scene. Pretty cool if you’re into FX, otherwise nothin’ special.
Additional Scenes (16:54) - A gaggle of additional material, most of which was rightfully cut from the film, as its pretty boring. And yeah, I just used the word ‘gaggle’.