There was no lack of horror movies in theaters this Halloween, but some who opted to stay home opted for Trick ‘r Treat, an oddly anticipated creep film that due to whatever reason went straight to DVD. The movie, a collection of short stories loosely tied together and set around the scariest night of the year, is a mildly entertaining but not particularly scary picture from Michael Dougherty, the writer of Superman Returns and X-Men 2.
Trick ‘r Treat has a surprisingly well known cast that includes Anna Paquin, Dylan Baker, Brian Cox and Leslie Bibb, though the way the film's structure work, they rarely share screen time together. Dougherty, who also wrote the movie, tells five or six stories that explain why people shouldn't blow out their jack-o-lanterns before midnight, how school principals can also be serial killers, why women shouldn't be left alone on Halloween and what happens when you don't give trick-or-treaters candy. Everything is pieced together with overlapping characters, notably one silent trick-or-treater named Sam, who is the creepy looking kid who graces the DVD cover.
The movie falls into that unfortunate category stuck between horror and comedy; Trick ‘r Treat is odd and clearly trying to be funny at times, but it really isn't for the most part. And yet, the movie isn't scary, either. So, ultimately, you have a not-so-funny, not-so-scary horror film, and that ain't good.
Nevertheless, given the rather short stories and the strange blend of genres (there are aliens, zombie children, vampires, serial killers and more), there is enough to keep one amused. The talent involved helps; Baker is especially good, and you generally can't go wrong with Paquin (especially when vampires are involved).
All in all, Trick ‘r Treat is a hard-to-love, hard-to-hate movie. It doesn't have a lot going for it, but it doesn't have a lot against it either, and as a result, if you've seen all the other horror movies, Trick ‘r Treat may be worth it. Unfortunately, I'm still not sure which I got.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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