Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Movie Appraisal: Trick 'r Treat (2007)

I don't have much to say about this movie except that if you haven't seen in and are reading this review: Stop.


STOP, and go and watch this film. Do it for Halloween. I don't care if it's not Halloween anymore. Do it for the potential of Halloween. This just happens to be the greatest Halloween movie ever made and needs to be watched by everyone. Oh, you think I kid. You think I jest. I neither kid nor jest. It is perfect. Perfect in every discernible way for a Halloween movie.

Trick 'r Treat is an anthology film written and directed by Michael Dougherty. It was based on his animated short film from 1996 entitled Season's Greetings, which also features the character of Sam (that little dude up there on the poster). The movie is also a wonderful comedy-horror movie with blood, gore, breasts, and everything a horror movie like this should be. The comedy aspect of it is incredibly well done. It's funny at all the right spots. I found myself laughing more than once at the ridiculousness of it all or some of the wonderful lines throughout the movie. I loved the ironic deaths of many of the characters, so much so that I would generally find myself gleefully humming to myself as they died. Not sure if I've ever done that to a movie before...

The characters (and acting) in it are brilliant as well, ranging from the hilarious murderous principal Steven Wilkins (played by Dylan Baker) to the virginal Laurie (Anna Paquin) to Sam (Quinn Lord) himself. Hell, even the savant Rhonda (Samm Todd) and the witchy young girl Sara (Isabelle Deluce) are nearly brilliant. Brian Cox is also awesome as Creeg, the angry old man of the film. I can't say enough great things about all of these actors. Seriously, every last one of them creates a fantastic and memorable character. And they all seem to really love being in this movie, and making a movie that finally feels precisely like Halloween.

Anyway, the movie basically involves a bunch of Halloween parables. And they all work quite well with each  of them focusing on a different aspect of Halloween culture. You have the kids who are trying to dig up an urban legend and appeal to the ghosts of that legend. You have the woman who doesn't have any respect for Halloween and wants those decorations down ASAP. You have your girls in sexy costumes going to a party in the woods. You have a serial killer type who poisons a kid. And you have a crotchety old man who has no respect for anybody but himself. All of these plots intertwine to tell the narrative, but I'm not saying how they intertwine. Watch the flick to find that out.

It is one of the first films I've ever watched that really hits what Halloween is all about. It feels appropriate in every way. It feels like Halloween. I don't know how much more I can say about it. I've been a kid at Halloween. I've been a crazy teenager at Halloween, and now I'm basically an adult at Halloween. I've loved Halloween every year. I've gone trick-or-treating with both friends and family (and been around the blocks a few times by myself). I've been to parties, stayed up and watched horror movies with people, and generally enjoyed the holiday every year immensely. If you've taken any time to enjoy it too, you will love this film. Don't be scared off by the comedy aspect of the movie, since it does hold the appropriate level of scares as well. But don't think that the movie is too scary either. While there is a good amount of gore, it is really over-the-top, never being actually realistic in the slightest. It fits in a snug little corner between comedy and horror and works well as both of those things.

The plot with the school bus massacre, the old man, and the school principal are my favorites, but all of them work more-or-less incredibly well. It's just that those three work spectacularly well as what they are. The school bus massacre especially feels like it could be a movie all on its own. And it happens to be the absolute pinnacle of terrifying in this movie. I'm pretty sure I've done stupid things like these kids did, and though it didn't end up as... uh... messy as it did in this movie, I'm pretty sure the mood was still there. Somehow Halloween was encapsulated on film, and I love that feeling so very much.

I really can't say enough good things about this movie. I'm glad I had a chance to review it on Halloween. I'm also glad that I've gotten the chance to have a great time on Halloween watching a fantastic film. Check it out right now if you haven't this year. You will not be disappointed, I almost guarantee it.


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