Trick ‘r Treat is a newly released film from Warner Brothers that was actually made way back in 2007. The film has been something of urban legend having been shelved for two years before finally being released this year right before Halloween. Originally this movie was slated for theatrical release but for whatever reason never got one. After hearing about this movie for the past two years I finally got a chance to view it when it released officially this past week.
Let me first say that all the hype surrounding this movie isn’t warranted. Trick ‘r Treat is a fun little Halloween movie, but it’s neither scary or original. The movie plays out more like an ode to Halloween myths in the tradition of Tales from the Crypt than an actual contribution to the horror franchises. In fact most of the film is a comedy and the “horror” on an R.L. Stein level. In fact one of the mini stories seems ripped right from the pages of Goosebumps.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, I liked quite a bit of Goosebumps, but it’s a bit of a letdown if you’ve been told this movie is supposedly one of the greatest contributions to the genre. Instead it’s an uneven entry into horror that poorly attempts to weave four or five mini stories into one with nothing really tying them together.
The film starts out with a standard slasher flick intro where characters are killed and we barely see the killer. Unfortunately this doesn’t set the pace for the movie, instead the movie takes a completely different turn. Using a non-linear plot we see several other stories unfold that take place before our original scene. There’s no real purpose for this plot device other than to give an excuse to “tie” it all together. But the elements that tie it together are almost universally vague. Remember when that character walked by here, well this was also going on then too. It’s a nice effort and there are a couple of cool tie ins but for the most part it feels tacked on and unnecessary. If you’re looking for something to combine all these stories together, it’s not here.
Trick ‘r Treat is advertised as four stories of terror that come together. It’s supposed to be an ode to Tales from the Crypt and it works in that sense, but the film actually feels a bit more like six stories as a couple of the main stories are weaved together with side stories. Our first story is about an evil principle who poisons candy. It’s interesting in premise and it plays out rather hilariously but it’s played more for macabre laughs than actual horror.
Next we have an uneven story about a vampire guy, which feels needlessly tacked on and is one of the elements that probably could have been omitted. He kills a few people, he does some stuff but he really serves no purpose until later in the story and what’s revealed about him could have been done without having this character.
The Goosebumps style story is probably the best done even though you can pretty much figure out where it’s going from the beginning. I wish they’d done something more with these characters as they were surprisingly likeable to end up as plot fodder.
The story does pack one big surprise that you’re unlikely to see coming that’s surprisingly satisfying. It’s a story with Little Red Riding Hood and it’s a lot of fun. This story works out to be the most like a classic episode of Tales from the Crypt and it’s one of the best treats in this supposed frightfest.
Finally we have Sam’s story. Sam is a little creature that appears throughout the film largely doing nothing. Sam is supposedly the thread that ties these stories altogether but we never learn much about Sam. He kills at random and although his story is a lot of fun with the most potential for slasher style horror, it’s again played more for sight gags and laughs than spooks. If this movie ever gets a sequel, it’ll undoubtedly focus on Sam which probably would be a good thing.
So after all this you’d think I didn’t like Trick ‘r Treat. That’s not true, I quite enjoyed the movie. It just wasn’t was what everyone claimed it was. This isn’t a classic, this isn’t much in the way of horror and it certainly won’t reinvent the genre. Trick ‘r Treat is still a satisfying addition to the creepy but not spooky style of horror.
This a fun flick to have playing in the background of your Halloween party. All of the stories are well told and interesting but their loose connections aren’t really needed. This film would have been better as four truly separate mini stories with the Crypt Keeper introducing them.
Points for effort but some subtractions for execution. Trick ‘r Treat is worth a rental, just don’t go into it expecting scares. If you’re a fan of R.L Stein or the old Tales from the Crypt EC comics then you’ll enjoy this macabre romp of Halloween tales.