Trick 'r Treat (2007)

Comedy, Horror, Thriller
Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, Dylan Baker, Rochelle Aytes
Four interwoven stories that occur on Halloween: An everyday high school principal has a secret life as a serial killer; a college virgin might have just met the one guy for her; a group of teenagers pull a mean prank; a woman who loathes the night has to contend with her holiday-obsessed husband.
An deftly crafted tribute to Halloween legends, Trick 'r' Treat hits all the genre marks with gusto and old fashioned suspense.
  • Warner Bros. Pictures Company:
  • R Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • N/A Released:
  • 06 Oct 2009 DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • Michael Dougherty Writer:
  • Michael Dougherty Director:
  • N/A Website:

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Trailer:

Not Scary. Still Amazing9/10
People keep bashing this movie for the wrong reasons. If your somebody reading reviews that say "one of the best horror movies" that doesn't mean it's scary or gory. This movie is an amazing horror film, but keep in mind that it isn't that scary and nor does it try to be. The reason it's good is, because it truly captures the essence of Halloween. It's all about being a kid on Halloween and hearing urban legends, and following Halloween traditions. On top of that the effects look great. There's no CGI at all, and it makes the movie more authentic. The setting also helps. It feels like a real neighborhood that just happens to get supernatural events on Halloween. The only people who I could see hating this movie are torture porn addicts, and people who had no Halloween childhood. For the rest of us who love Halloween, and love horror films then make sure to see this movie.
How can a film this good be sitting on the shelf for so long?9/10
Ah, Halloween… my favorite time of the year. It isn't so much the festivities taking place that excites me as it's the feeling in the air once October comes. That palpable sensation you get seeing jack-o-lanterns grimly lit faces, kids trick-or-treating in the streets and the aesthetics of fall surrounding you slowly giving way to winter. I think it must hold a special place in everyone, if for nothing else but purely nostalgic reasons. Mike Dougherty is certainly one of those people, as is evidenced by his incredible horror anthology Trick 'r Treat. For a holiday that revels in films of a horrific nature, there sure are a scant few of them that take place on the actual day itself. Dougherty's film is the celluloid embodiment of that je ne sais quoi that has made Halloween such an alluring holiday for generations of kids (and adults) alike.

As I said, Trick 'r Treat is a horror anthology which interweaves tales that all take place on Halloween night, similar to such genre classics as Creepshow and Tales from the Darkside. A costumed couple learns to respect tradition… the hard way, a group of girls head out into the woods for a "howling" good party, the local school principal has a (literal) taste for blood, four kids attempting to pull off a holiday "trick" end up becoming "treats", and a cantankerous old man gets a visit from a holiday visitor looking to settle a decades-old grudge.

To say anymore than that would spoil the fun in watching the film, as these stories are best digested when viewed on an empty mind. The twists are less predictable than most horror films manage these days; half the fun is wondering just where the hell these characters are going to end up. The one constant throughout the film is a costumed, pint-sized little guy named Sam, who does his best to remind people why they should take great care in adhering to the traditions set forth hundreds of years ago for All Hallows Eve. The film is richly seeped in tradition, reminding the audience of just why we celebrate the fabled holiday in the first place. It manages to be effectively creepy and blood-soaked, yet it never goes over-the-top with gratuitous gore. There is also a very obvious helping of black comedy strewn throughout the film, which thankfully never gives way to the self-parody so many horror films feel the need to indulge in.

I think the most impressive aspect of this film is the incredible attention that has been paid to detail. Every single shot of the film is beautifully framed and composed, often looking more like a cryptic painting than a frame of film. The austere trappings of Mr. Kreeg's dark house, the ghostly palette of the rock quarry, the incredible shape-shifting sequence around a roaring fire in the woods… everything here is gorgeous. That aesthetic, married with the spot-on performances and realistic dialogue, give the film an organic feel that never relies on cheese or parody to break tension. The cinematography by Glen MacPherson (who also shot this year's incredibly brutal Rambo) is so lush it manages to make you feel like you're a part of the celebration. For someone who is as big a fan of the Halloween holiday as I am, this was especially important to see done right. Too often when a film actually does take place on the holiday it lacks the depth that is presented here.

For such a large ensemble cast, there isn't any one performance that stands out above the rest – everyone here is perfectly cast. I even enjoyed Anna Paquin as the "virgin" of the female group, and she's not always someone I'm crazy about. Perhaps my favorite role is that of Mr. Kreeg, played superbly by veteran character actor Brian Cox. His look was inspired directly from my favorite director, John Carpenter, and there are a couple of well-placed nods to his work that were highly amusing. Also providing great support throughout the film is newcomer Quinn Lord who plays Sam, the little sack-headed minion who "stiches" the film's stories together.

OK, now here's the biggest problem with the film; the 800 lb. gorilla in the room: there is NO set distribution deal lined up. I was lucky enough to see it at the sold-out opening night screening held at Grauman's Chinese Theater for Screamfest 2008. During the post-film q&a session Mr. Dougherty informed us that he had no idea what the future held for this film. It was set to be released in Oct. 2007 (?!?), then it was pushed back to Feb. 2008, Oct. 2008 and, finally, has been placed on the shelf indefinitely. I'm thankful that Dougherty got some good studio money to make the film to his exact specifications, but, for the love of all things evil, someone at Warner Bros. needs to get this thing out to the masses! I heard rumblings of a direct-to-DVD release date sometime next year, to which I can only say that would be a travesty for something this genuine and unique. I suppose therein lies some of the problem; since this is generally uncharted territory, the studios are clueless as to how they can market the thing. I can understand some of their hesitation (since a good majority of the film features children either killing or being killed), but there's just no excuse to not give this thing some kind of release – and with an October 2008 release out of the question I don't when they could give it a proper release. This is a film that needs to be seen during the month of October, but it's looking like 2009 is the next likely candidate if that were the case. I just don't want to see this film become the cinematic equivalent to the eternally-gestating Guns N' Roses opus Chinese Democracy (which, oddly enough, actually has a release date… for now).
Like giving poisoned candy to a baby - only the baby wants more!9/10
Just when it looked like the anthology movie was dead, along comes Director/Writer Michael Dougherty's Trick 'r Treat to not only breathe new life into this overlooked format, but also firmly establish itself as one of the best films to keep on the shelf and revisit each Halloween – if the folks at Warner Bros. ever decide to release it, either in theaters or to DVD.

Selected to close out Montreal's 2009 Fantasia film fest, Trick 'r Treat spins five intertwined tales featuring an assortment of classic critters and creeps, with each interlocking story carrying its own "Twilight Zone"-type twist. The single constant throughout is Sam (Quinn Lord), a mysterious diminutive munchkin dressed in a pajama jumper and sporting a burlap sack for a head with buttons for eyes, who appears briefly in each segment and takes center stage in the final story.

Borrowing a visual style from the classic EC horror comics, Dougherty deploys vintage on-screen graphic call-outs like "Later" or "Meanwhile" to let the audience know which scenes are running in order, concurrently, or previously in the film's timeline, which comes full circle at its conclusion, ending where it began.

With exquisite art direction by Tony Wohlgemuth and lush visuals by cinematographer Glenn MacPherson (2008's Rambo, Final Destination) the segments tell the tales of a young wife who can't wait to ditch the trappings of Halloween, even though the film's mythology says it's taboo to blow out a pumpkin before midnight; a sinister school principal and single dad with a nefarious agenda planned for trick-or-treaters; a young virgin nervously seeking her first time with her pack of girlfriends; a group of kids in quest of the truth behind a local urban legend; and an aging recluse with a tortured soul who finds his quiet Halloween night rudely interrupted by Sam.

Dougherty, whose last major credit was as co-screenwriter of Superman Returns, invokes a spirit of childhood fun borne from hours spent burrowing through editions of EC Comics, Warren Publishing's Eerie and Creepy, and DC's House of Mystery to create a fun, rollicking ride that is rare in movies today.

The sad aspect of this is that while Trick 'r Treat has been enjoying a positive response from the festival circuit, it's still a guess as to when this gem will be released. While the month of October would be a no-brainer, the movie was originally targeted for a 2007 release, only to see that get pushed back again and again. It's a shame for such a fine film to languish on the shelf, only to be seen by a select few at sympathetic festivals, for Trick 'r Treat is virtually an instant classic of the genre, even if its only audience exposure ends up being via direct-to-DVD.
The BEST Halloween-themed movie ever made10/10
Before anyone cries foul over my statement that TRICK 'R TREAT is the single best Halloween-themed movie ever made, allow me to back up the statement. While 1978's HALLOWEEN is a masterful, amazing thriller that truly has no equal in the horror genre, TRICK 'R TREAT is something wonderfully different. Its a movie that IS Halloween.

Whereas Carpenter's classic is set during the holiday and it plays heavily into the plot, the film could (arguably) be set on any other night and be just as frightening. TRICK 'R TREAT hinges completely on All Hallow's Eve, taking every spooky childhood memory its viewers have about the holiday and mashing them into a gleeful, creepy anthology of tales that are somehow both genuinely chilling and nostalgically beautiful.

Try as I might, I cannot think of a film more deserving of a 10/10 rating than TRICK 'R TREAT. Writer/director Michael Dougherty has crafted a film that transformed me into a five-year-old child in a Dracula cape and plastic fangs, riveted in stunned horror as his vision played out before me. Somehow, it succeeds in being both terrifying and charming, like a dark old painting that still reminds you of home.

TRICK 'R TREAT's story unfolds unlike a traditional anthology picture, with all of the movie's separate plots taking place together. We're not subjected to title cards or stunted intermissions between tales, but a seamless mix of Halloween hijinx and horrors. In its five overlapping stories, a couple discovers what happens when they blow out a jack o' lantern before midnight, a bullying child learns to check his candy before eating it, a young woman is stalked by a hooded stranger at a harvest festival, a group of pranksters uncover the ghoulish truth about a local urban legend, and an elderly Scrooge is visited by a pint-sized hellion who is far more interested in tricks than treats.

Buffeted by wonderful performances from Oscar winner Anna Paquin, Emmy winner Brian Cox, Dylan Baker, Leslie Bibb, and Battlestar Galactica's Tahmoh Penikett, TRICK 'R TREAT is the one and only genre film to have been released in the past decade that is already one of my all-time favorites.

When its done, you'll feel sorry for the works of Tim Burton and Quentin Tarantino, because TRICK 'R TREAT has taken the best of these auteurs, blended them with ten pounds of candy corn and razor blades, and shoveled the whole mess down your throat.

TRICK 'R TREAT may not just be the best Halloween-themed movie ever made, but the finest example of horror cinema in decades.
It;s Going To Be A Halloween Tradition10/10
I saw Trick 'r Treat last night as part of FRIGHTEST in Leicester Square, all I need to say is it had a round of applause at the end (which does'nt usually happen in the UK), and it wasn't down to the fact that Michael Dougherty was there!

I have seen thousands of horror films and T'r T is undoubtedly one of the best films I have ever seen.

From the moment it started I got the feeling I was going to like it, you can tell it had a fair amount of money chucked it's way, the set looks fantastic. This is going straight to DVD in October, with no theatrical run (it was made in 2007)...Unbelievable! From the acting to the effects to the direction - the whole thing is just masterful.

The film itself basically is set on Halloween, and a bunch of stories interweave into one in a very clever way, it is sort of like the CREEPSHOW films but each story is'nt standalone, they are all going on at the same time and come together at the end. I did'nt know to much when I went into it, and I think it's the best way because there are a bundle of great surprises littered throughout! It makes me wonder how a movie like Prom Night remake and the coulntless SAW films get a Theatrical Run and a film as awesome as this just gets shelved and disregarded.

A true masterpiece by any admission, and sure to be INSTANT CLASSIC!