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Trick r Treat is another recently viewed film that inexplicably escaped theatrical release, even more so than Defendor. Perhaps the anthology nature of its storytelling played some role in it releasing straight to video, though I doubt it. With True Blood’s popularity at the time of release I would think Anna Paquin would be a bankable enough star to take a chance, though calling her the lead would be a stretch, as she plays a major role but in only one of the stories. Each of the stories loosely ties to the others in a small Ohio town on one Halloween night. It apparently attracts too much attention from the dead, the undead and any and all other creatures of the night, so they have very specific traditions for warding off these things. From the opening the movie makes the price of not heeding these very clear. The morals are a little uneven in the tales, and the storytelling itself can be pretty uneven. Blowing out a jack o’ lantern candle is treated just as viciously as child murder. One of the kills comes with no backstory; really, it just establishes further that a known murderer is a murderer. Strong visuals are director writer/director Matthew Dougherty’s best asset in the film. He frames each shot nicely, while capturing just enough to hold your imagination as to what that is happening outside of the frame. The finale reveals most of it, tying the separate stories up and tying them together. His cast is striking, from Paquin’s costume to the creepy little Sam, a burlap-masked, ever present menace who acts as a bond for the individual tales. His style owes much to Creepshow, which is to say it owes much to its predecessors, EC Comics such as Tales from the Crypt and Vault of Horror. Comic script boxes with phrases like “Meanwhile” and “Later…” act as breaks between scenes and add to the tongue-in-cheek nature of the stories. Dougherty’s cast is quite good, featuring Dylan Baker, one of the most solid and underrated actors working today, and Brian Cox, about whom the same can be said. Both men are adept at stepping into their roles and being so identified with their characters that you forget that they are actors. It’s always good to see either of them allowed to carry a film as they are generally support players. Given its lack of press you might be tempted to ignore Trick r Treat. Give it a chance, though, especially if you have any affinity for Creepshow, Cat’s Eye or Tales from the Crypt. 3 ½ stars

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3 Comments

  1. I can’t wait to see this AND “I Sell The Dead”. Thanks for the “Creepshow” shout-outs in both reviews–that is like a post-hypnotic suggestion for me. I will watch anything if it’s tied to “Creepshow”…except of course “Creepshow 3”.

    • With I Sell the Dead, it’s more the anthology nature and the outlandishness of it. With Trick r Treat, though, you straight up can’t miss the EC Comics feel that Creepshow put on. Both are a lot of fun, too.

  2. Great post, I am almost 100% in agreement with you


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