WEIRDO’WEEN #31: Trick ‘r Treat [2007]

weirdoween2015Well, it’s official: this review marks the finale weirdo’ween post for 2015! We’ve reviewed all sorts of movies over this past month, and even though I tried to look at films I haven’t talked about before; some obviously overlapped. Today though, our review is special, being one that I had in mind since I did the first review for weirdo’ween. It’s a movie that I consider the definitive Halloween movie, and I try and make a point of watching it every year. [although I can’t tonight because I have plans, plus I work] It’s an anthology film, with four stories interwoven into one big “super-story”. It has demon children, werewolves, and even the little spirit of Halloween himself. So let us move on to the one, the only: Trick ‘r Treat.

weirdo'ween-#31As I said, Trick ‘r Treat is a horror anthology which interweaves stories that all take place on Halloween night, kind of like genre classics as Creepshow and Tales From The Darkside. Our stories involve: a costumed couple who learn to respect tradition.. the hard way, a group of girls who head out into the woods for a “howling” good party, the school principal has a [literal] taste for blood, four kids attempt to play a “trick” on someone they know – only to end up becoming “treats”, and a grumpy old man gets a visit from a holiday visitor who has been looking to settle a decades-old grudge.

Like most anthology films, these stories are best watched when viewed on an empty mind. Without any context. The twists are less predictable than most horror films are these days; and half the fun is wondering just where – and how – the hell these characters are going to end up. Keep an eye open though, the one constant throughout the stories is a costumed, little guy named Sam, who appears to come off as the Spirit of Halloween, in order to remind people why they should take care in following the traditions set forth hundreds of years ago for All Hallows Eve. Trick ‘r Treat is filled with tradition, reminding the audience of just why we celebrate the Halloween in the first place. It manages to be effectively creepy and blood-soaked, yet it never goes over-the-top with gratuitous gore. It’s always “just enough”, which I love about it! There is also a very obvious helping of black comedy laced throughout the film, so if it feels like too much – which it really isn’t – there’s enough jokes to keep you laughing.

But, I think the most impressive aspect of this film is the filmmaker’s incredible attention that has been paid to detail. Every single shot of the film is beautifully framed and composed, coming off as looking more like a cryptic painting we’re meant to decipher, rather than a frame of film. The dark and broody look of Mr. Kreeg‘s dark house, the ghostly palette of the rock quarry, the incredible werewolf shape-shifting sequence around a roaring fire in the woods.. everything in this movie feels, and is gorgeous. The cinematography is so well put together, that it manages to make you feel like you’re a part of the celebration; and not just someone watching on. As someone who is as big a fan of the Halloween holiday, this was especially important, and it was done right! It’s been far too often when a film actually does take place on the holiday but ends up lacking the depth that is given to us here. and then there’s the cast of the movie..

For such a large ensemble cast, there isn’t any one performance that stands out above the rest – everyone here is perfect. From characters such as Anna Paquin‘s “virgin wolf” of her female group, to perhaps my favorite role of Mr. Kreeg, played really well by veteran character actor Brian Cox. His look was even inspired directly from another person known for horror, John Carpenter, and there are a couple of well-placed nods to his work that were fun, so long as you caught them. Also providing great support throughout the film is newcomer Quinn Lord who plays Sam, our little sack-headed fiend who “stiches” the film’s stories together.

But let’s face the real problem with this movie. It isn’t that it has too many jump scares, or that it’s a terrible film but something more meta: there was NO set distribution deal lined up when it was first released. Initially, it was set to be released in October 2007, then it was pushed to February 2008, then October 2008 and, then finally, placed on the shelf indefinitely. Eventually, in Canada anyway, it ended up being a direct-to-DVD release in October 2009, which I can only say that is disappointing for something this genuine to it’s genre. I mean, that’s two years after the movie was made.. But, I suppose that’s what the problem is; because this is a movie that goes to uncharted territory, the studios were probably clueless about how they were going to try and market it to the public. I mean, I guess I can understand some of their hesitation, [since a good majority of the film features children either killing or being killed] but knowing they waited two years after the movie was made to release it, makes me upset..especially because for the fans: that feels like it took itself an eternity.The bottom line is, I still don’t completely understand why Trick ‘r Treat didn’t get a theatrical release, and I probably never will, but even if it was a direct-to-DVD title, it deserves some much-deserved exposure. The only disappointment here is in the bonus features, where they’re almost none, but the film itself is good enough to make up for it. If only I wasn’t working tonight, I’d take advantage of today to watch it again on this Halloween night, with a Jack-o-lantern lit and bowl of candy at the ready – just in case.

So now I turn to you, what are your thoughts on Trick ‘r Treat? Have you seen the movie? If so, what were your thoughts; mindless Halloween film, or one of the greats? Let me know in a comment or two! As noted by the big “#31” at the top title, this is the last weirdo’ween post so be sure to check out the other reviews I wrote during this month! Also – for those in the know, the universe of Trick ‘r Treat recently expanded with the publication of the graphic novel Trick ‘r Treat: Days Of The Dead, and it was while discussing the book with the series creator that we learned some key details about the upcoming sequel: Trick ‘r Treat 2. Director Michael Dougherty was hesitant to offer too much information, but he did explain that a big part of his goal with the sequel is to dive further into the history of Halloween.

But, If you found yourself to enjoy this particular review – and want to see more in the future – then take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 125+ likes almost at 130!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; as well as links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends!

always check your candy!

So have an awesome Halloween everyone, be safe, be smart, and keep an eye out for Sam; he could be anywhere. I hope you enjoyed Weirdo’ween as much as I enjoyed writing it. As expected with this being the last review of this month, posts won’t be as frequent now, coming out every other day or so. Especially with work, I’m going to be caught up feeling slightly more busy, but that doesn’t mean I’m gone for good; just that I won’t be writing something every day. I’m not entirely sure when my next post will be, but hopefully it’ll be sooner than later; and it won’t be a review either – I’ve done enough of those for now 😉

STAY WEIRD, and as always:

THANKS FOR READING.

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