Trick ‘r Treat is a 2007 anthology horror film featuring several stories which overlap and share characters, and all take place on Halloween night. While it garnered acclaim, it encountered many problems with it’s release. Originally being planned for a October 2007 release date, it was delayed repeatedly despite positive reactions from the few public screenings it had. The film was eventually released direct to DVD in October 2009. It remains a cult film with a loyal fanbase.
It’s a shame it was, too, as it’s a film that horror fans most likely would have seen, although with typical producer logic, the studio most likely didn’t see it that way. The film was slated to open the same weekend as Saw IV, so perhaps Warner Bros. didn’t want to compete with the monster franchise. So, naturally, their reaction was to release the movie two years later on DVD so nobody will see it and make even less money on it.
On Halloween night (we presume 2007), five stories in the same town are occurring: a woman learns why you shouldn’t break Halloween rules; a school principal, Mr. Wilkins, moonlights as a serial killer; a group of friends try to make Laurie lose her virginity; a mean prank goes very, very wrong when a group of kids find out the truth behind a massacre; and a grumpy old man gets taught a lesson by a mysterious trick-or-treater.
Now, it all sounds like pretty standard fare. All concepts for horror films that couldn’t be stretched far enough to make into a full film, right? Well, I understand why you would think that, this being a direct to DVD horror film of course, but trust me, this is anything but standard fare. It’s a creepy, twisted, and sometimes darkly comedic horror treat that should be considered essential Halloween viewing.
Everything in Trick ‘r Treat works. And I mean simply everything. The acting is right on the mark (the best being the outstanding Brian Cox), the script is equal parts funny and disturbing, and the suspense in top-notch. It’s nice to see a director that realises that a horror-comedy needs to actually have some horror in it as well as comedy. Several lines are laugh out loud funny, and some of the horror sequences are genuinely creepy, in particular the final one in Brian Cox’s house. And I won’t spoil it, but the story about Laurie and her losing her virginity has one of the best and most apt twist endings that I’ve ever seen in a horror movie and made me laugh for ages afterwards. It’s worth watching just for that.
The problem with writing a review of an anthology film is that you can’t really say much without spoiling it since the stories are so short. All I will say to end this is that Trick ‘r Treat is a rare direct to DVD horror film that’s creative, original, scary, funny, and just all around well executed (no pun intended). It’s a future classic for sure and it deserves to be viewed by all horror fans, since it’s a treat for scare fans and for fans of just well written movies. If you have any interest in horror films, this is a must, and now that there is a sequel in the works, there’s now even more of a reason to watch this hidden gem of a Halloween classic.