Director: Michael Dougherty
Writer: Michael Dougherty
Starring: Dylan Baker, Rochelle Aytes, Anna Paquin, and Brian Cox
Trick ‘r Treat was written and directed by Michael Dougherty. It was originally shown at film festivals in 2007 before getting a wider release in 2009 as a direct-to-DVD release. It wasn’t until this year (2022) that the film received a theatrical release, after gaining a cult following in the years since its original release along with very high praise from critics.
The film is an anthology of short, interconnected horror stories, all set on Halloween in the same town. The stories play out simultaneously, with characters from each appearing in other stories. Each thread features a different type of threat, whether it’s just a straight up murderer or something more supernatural. Also appearing in all of the stories is a child in a scarecrow costume, known only as Sam (Quinn Lord).
None of the stories are particularly scary, but they’re very entertaining. It’s more funny than full-on scares, but at the same time it doesn’t hold back. There’s a lot of horrific moments, and some gross-out scenes. Early on there’s a puking scene that’s honestly stomach-churning. It’s the only bit of the film that’s like that, thankfully. It’s entertaining to see which type of horror the stories are going to show as they’re opening up.
There’s a real quick pace to everything, with the film being around eighty minutes, and the stories progressing at the same time. Unlike other anthology films, where they’re told in sequence, this one never lets up, building each story at the same time so there’s no slowdown points where you have to settle in to watch the next story. The performances are also pretty great, especially from Anna Paquin and Brian Cox.
Michael Dougherty places a lot of nods towards John Carpenter’s Halloween throughout the film. Not only is Anna Paquin’s character named Laurie, but the opening scene would fit perfectly in the Halloween series. The street looks like one from Haddonfield, the music is reminiscent of Carpenter’s score, there’s some first person perspective from the killer at the beginning as well. There’s even a man in a mask across the street, staring at the soon to be victim, although in a twist he’s not the killer. The references are really well done and the opening scene is a good argument that Michael Dougherty could make a great Halloween film. After Trick ‘r Treat he did go on to create Krampus in 2015, which is one of the best Christmas horror films. There’s been mention of a sequel to Trick ‘r Treat and that will be pretty good to see.
While it’s not scary, Trick ‘r Treat is still a very good time and there’s a lot to love. It’s charming, funny, and entertaining. The perfect film for a Halloween film marathon.
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