Trick 'r Treat

Reviewed By robertrosado
Posted 10/02/09 10:50:56

"A guaranteed classic of the horror genre."
5 stars (Awesome)

As a self-proclaimed connoisseur of the horror genre, I can safely say that I (along with legions of fellow fans) have waited in AGONY for two years over the release of Michael Dougherty's debut feature.

But, despite strong feedback from test screenings and film festivals, one had to wonder... What was keeping Warner Bros. from releasing the film? I mean, the theaters have been flooded with remakes and sequels and Saw movies consistently, and could Trick 'r Treat really not compete with them? And, even if the movie WAS released, would it live up to the hype that Warners had involuntarily created?

Well, the movie has finally arrived to us... and it is a beast. A delicious, twisted, gleeful anthology, with each story complimenting - and, in some cases, completing - the one before it. Connecting them all is the instantly iconic figure of Sam. About the height of a child, wearing tattered pajamas, a sack over his head, and wielding a large bag full of candy, this little guy is the stuff nightmares are made of. He is Halloween's answer to Santa Claus, Cupid, or the Easter Bunny.

The screenplay is fresh and surprising, and the pace is brisk. At 87 minutes, there is not a dull moment. The tone is morbidly charming, effortlessly switching between laughs and screams. The ensemble cast is game and remarkably committed (Baker and Cox are standouts). The film also features the kind of immaculate detail and thick autumnal atmosphere that any fan of cinema can appreciate. Other than perhaps 1978's Halloween, Trick 'r Treat sets out to be the definitive movie of the holiday, and it succeeds. There isn't a single shot to be found that isn't dripping with seasonal character, nor is there a scene that doesn't capture the manic energy of the 31st to a T.

On top of that, the movie is scary. Not in a deep-rooted, troubling, The Exorcist way, but is reminiscent of the friendly shiver you get when being told a ghost story around a campfire. Doughterty's affection (obsession?) for the holiday is apparent in every last frame, with pumpkins, candy, shadows, foliage, and costumes being beautifully incorporated into the film's overall mood.

Doughterty tantalizes the senses with an assortment of holiday ghoulishness, creating an enchanting, timeless horror movie, all the while bypassing the punishing and downbeat torture route of recent years (i.e. Hostel and Saw). Mischief, mayhem, and blood are all over this cracked-out little gem, guaranteed to be a classic of the genre. Halloween is the flat-out weirdest holiday of the year, and I encourage you all to make [i]Trick 'r Treat[/i] a part of your evening.

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