Trick 'r Treat (2007) Poster

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How can a film this good be sitting on the shelf for so long?
islandclaws11 October 2008
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).
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A direct to DVD release that is miles ahead of many "big" horror releases.
oneguyrambling6 November 2010
For like two years Trick R Treat never seemed to come off the "Upcoming Releases" list. I can't for the life of me see why.

It might not be an all time great, but it is so much better than 20 odd absolute crapfests that were actually fast-tracked into cinemas over the last year to cash in on the current renaissance that horror has been enjoying lately.

Examples? Orphan / The Last House on the Left / Halloween 2 / The Unborn / The Uninvited / Stepfather / Final Destination / Sorority Row Now re-read that list above and tell me what was a MUST SEE in cinemas.

I'll wait… Thought so.

Trick R Treat is hardly a frightening flick, but it is sharp, clever, amusing, inventive and most of all fun. None of those words scream "direct to DVD" to me - but that is what happened anyway.

Halloween has never really taken root in Australia, but over the last decade or so it has become more evident that Aussie kids are aware of the possibilities of free lollies and late nights, and the pressure seems to be going back on parents and homeowners to take it seriously. I know that we never bothered getting a serious stash of lollies ready until around three years ago, but this year our house got door-knocked at least 20 times.

What has been true for many years is that horror movies are more popular around this time of year, as many are made for US release to coincide with the holiday.

The plot of Trick R Treat is actually hard to describe, it is more a series of initially random events involving the same group of characters than a linear storyline. They all take place on Halloween (natch) in a small US town that obviously takes the night seriously.

The main combatants of the film include: A young couple arriving home from the night's festivities, with the young woman knocking back a kind offer of intercourse in favour of cleaning up the Halloween decorations in the yard.

The local school principal and his dealings with a trick or treater (played by the doofy kid from Bad Santa), which is interrupted by his son and a grumpy neighbour.

Four nubile young skanks prepping for a night where they are all hoping to "pull", including two absolute hotties and a pair of sisters, one of whom is Anna Paquin as a somewhat reluctant trollop dressed as Red Riding Hood.

A group of kids who attempt to pay respect to the victims of a past local tragedy involving a crashed school bus, and who rope in an unpopular young woman for the ceremony.

And… The afore-mentioned grumpy neighbour of the School Principal - obviously not a fan of Halloween - and his dealings with celebrating kids.

Early on there are a few more fake scares than I would have liked, you know where the camera lingers, the music builds, the character's hand hovers… and nothing happens. I started to worry that the release of the film was delayed with cause but thankfully that feeling was short lived.

The plot interweaves "Pulp Fiction" style between the seemingly random events, and we gradually see how all these events are practically related, and often impact other character's stories later on, (or at times earlier on, there are a few flashbacks).

There is also a little character in a sack over a pumpkin-head outfit who pops up in the periphery of all stories, he finally has his own scene near the very end in a scene that is worth the wait.

How this wasn't released to cinemas is beyond me. It seems to have every key element required to cash in big time, it is funny, has some good scares, sexy teens and a little innuendo without overstepping the gore or bad taste boundaries. I would have thought with a little advertising and some word of mouth this would have seen a huge audience over the Halloween period from the teens that will - if we're honest - go and see almost anything anyway.

It most certainly deserved far more than a direct to DVD release, hopefully the inevitable sequel sees a better fate.

Final Rating – 7.5 – 10. A little tame to be considered a great horror film, this will find itself on a great many "underrated" lists in coming years, and will no doubt prove a great introduction to the horror genre for many curious teens in years to come. You could do an awful lot worse.

If you liked this review (or even if you didn't) check out
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The BEST Halloween-themed movie ever made
Jim-D9 June 2009
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.
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It;s Going To Be A Halloween Tradition
Nightmare-Maker30 August 2009
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!
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Like giving poisoned candy to a baby - only the baby wants more!
Craig_McPherson31 July 2009
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.
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Very charming, lots of fun
Superunknovvn20 November 2009
"Trick 'r Treat" is probably what they intended "Halloween III" to be: A fun little horror movie that takes place at and revolves around Halloween. The episodic structure of the movie and the comic book background are reminiscent of George A. Romero's "Creepshow" and "Tales From The Crypt".

Although there is a certain amount of gore and some nudity this never feels like "hardcore horror", but more like a movie you could enjoy on a rainy afternoon with your kids... and that's a good thing. We've had so many shocking, violence-laden movies lately, that this is a very welcomed return to the more light-hearted, charming horror of our childhood.

"Trick 'r Treat" never strives to be special or meaningful. The episodes aren't especially original or disturbing, but director/screenwriter Michael Dougherty proves that you can breathe life into a horror movie just by taking it seriously, by putting your soul into it. The settings are atmospheric, the cinematography is inspired and beautiful. Some scenes are blatantly stolen from other movies (a scene that involves a little person slicing a grown-ups heel from underneath the bed is taken right out of "Pet Semetary", then we got the hand with a life of its own, that we've all seen before in "Evil Dead II", the Addams family movies and even "Waxwork II: Lost In Time"). However, these moments seem more like respectful nods to the movies we enjoyed as kids.

"Trick 'r Treat" has got its heart in the right place. It's the perfect movie for Halloween. It's charming and lots of fun. Great to see that there are still people like Dougherty out there who make old fashioned horror movies like this one.
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I wasn't tricked, I was treated!
rus_ty16 August 2012
Nowadays, there are so many horror films out there that are packed full of mindless gore, repetitive jump scares and little plot. The many sequels of Saw relied on all gore and no story, the Hostel Trilogy is plain sick, (even though the first one was just about OK) and many many others that probably couldn't satisfy the sickest minds. Which brings us the difference between Trick R Treat and all those other terrible horror films out there.

Trick R Treat sure is original. It's not some mindless blood fest, it doesn't have pointless nudity, and it isn't some crappy remake of an original classic horror film that we are getting so many of these days. It's purely an original horror film, and it's a breath of fresh air. Trick R Treat is an indie, stand alone horror film directed by Michael Dougherty. The film that contains 4 individual stories that all tie in together at the end of the film. The stories themselves are actually very good, keeping us on the edge of our seats with interest and gives us a nice little twist at the end of each one that even managed to surprise me when I watched it a second time a few months later. Sure, it's not the scariest film ever made, it isn't that gory either. What it is is clever, old school original horror that separates itself from all those other horrors out there.

The stories revolve around a young teenager (Anna Paquin) looking for someone to have her first time with, an irritable old man living alone, a school teacher with a dark, twisted side, and a horrible school prank revolving around what seems to be only an urban legend. Sound simple enough, right? Well, each one has its own shock and twist towards the end, and how they all link in with each other is really well done. One character I particularly liked was the creepy young child with the pumpkin like mask that appeared in each story. He doesn't feature in much, but he really gets to shine in the very last scene that is defiantly worth the wait.

So give it a shot, it's something new that sadly we just don't get enough of these days.
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Some good actors, pretty slick but not great
neil-upto1118 March 2011
'Trick r Treat' is a comic-style anthology and the different tales are woven together pretty well. The direction is slick and the structure is sound.

The tales themselves are a mixed bag. Not bad but not stunning.

The injection of two or three decent actors gives it enough 'oomph' to lift it just above your average horror flick. Without the likes of Brian Cox and Dylan Baker I fear this may have slipped into the murky depths of DVD oblivion but, as I say, they do enough to keep it all watchable.

'Trick r Treat' is silly fun that should please most horror fans.
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Do Not Believe the Good Reviews * *NO Spoilers**
dean290026 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was originally scheduled to be released in 2007 but test screening went bad. The writer of this movie also had penned the Superman Returns reboot which had bombed badly. The studio realized the movie is very bad and dropped it.

The only reason I am spending time posting is because of this continued trend of studio plans and viral marketing. It is real simple, the studio buys some critic reviews and compares it to John Carpenters Halloween (which is a joke) and then at the time of this review out of 800 votes, over 600 of the people rated the movie 10/10. That does not even happen with the Godfather, Shawshank, LOTR, and other top movies of all time.

The movie was so bad that the studio buried it. They are now going all out to try and sell this movie before REAL REVIEWS are made of the movie and word of mouth explains how bad it is.

There are no scares, no laughs, no tense moments, very little blood/gore, no T&A, etc. I don't mind it lacking the last three as long as it is a good movie but this is not.

I cant imagine who would like this. It felt closest to a knockoff of Tales from the Darkside the Movie without the real book ends and without decent special effects, some minor scares, etc. In fact, it was basically plot less and not tied together neatly. It was lazy writing.

You have been warned.
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Threadbare on Scares
bigbillythefish9210 October 2009
After watching Trick R' Treat, I felt something was simply missing: from beautiful set decoration to conceptual camera angles, this is, by its cover, the perfect direct-to-DVD horror movie. But considering what could be lacking from such a film, I ventured to the heart of the story and finally realized that Trick R' Treat is, simply put, devoid of any scares.

Don't get me wrong: this movie is anything but boring. From pumpkin-faced terrors to blood-sucking creatures, this movie has its share of creeps. Not only that, but each of the separate story lines (there are 4 total) are woven together so slickly that there are bundles of shocks you won't see coming.

But none of this can make up for the fact that Trick R' Treat is, at its best, only creepy; a movie that used the same layout and attained the same tone as "The Twilight Zone Movie." I was eagerly awaiting the moment when it would break off from creepy and truly get scary, like John Carpenter's "Halloween." But sadly, Trick R' Treat's clever story never dishes out the scares.
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Besides Many Continuity Issues, TRICK Suffers From Interminable Other Weaknesses!
KissEnglishPasto29 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
............................................................from Pasto,Colombia...Via: L.A. CA., CALI, COLOMBIA and ORLANDO, FL

Bad things….Expectations!...More often than not, they turn around and bite you. TRICK 'r TREAT bit back hard! If ever I wanted to have an enjoyable genre movie experience, TRICK was it! A myriad of factors prevented me from doing so. At least viewers are spared from long-suffering, because after a scant 77 minutes, the end credits begin.

Here is one very clear example of its myriad shortcomings: Toward the end, a neighbor, who is injured via a run in with a rather indescribable child monster, comes out of his empty home soon after with his right arm, shoulder and head ALL very tidily and professionally bandaged. (He must keep a live-in-nurse chained-up in the basement?!?) And how they managed to apply pristine white bandages without as much as a single drop of blood visible anywhere is nothing short of a miracle!

Besides continuity issues, TRICK suffers from interminable other weaknesses. The only redeeming aspect of TRICK is its technical and visual excellence. Cinematography, editing, sets, set decoration, costumes, sound and sound effects, all exhibited levels considerably above average, albeit very clichéd and practically devoid of any originality.

**** HUGE SPOILER CONUNDRUM Ahead! Read it and I'll bet 10 to 1 you'll say, "O.K., Right! Don't want to see it!" On the Other Hand…Don't read it, go ahead and see the movie and you'll come back later and say, "DAMN! Sure wish I had read Tony's SPOILER BEFORE! "****

What does TRICK consider to be its "Trump card"? Apparently, killing off a bus-load of special needs kids! Oh, and just to be fair, so that they're not the ONLY kids singled out for an untimely end, other children are offed as well! Now I don't know about you, but I do think this is really scraping the bottom of the barrel! Is it incongruous to say, "Well, at least these killings were done tastefully"?

Writers and the director seemed to overlook the "sometimes MORE is LESS" factor, and, although the storyline is not linear, but rather circular, crammed in serial killers, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, zombies, a monster kid and a murderer-for-hire in several unrelated, and sometimes unresolved story lines in ONLY 77 minutes! When all is said and done, I'm sure a lot of die hard fans of the genre will enjoy TRICK much more than I. Sorry Horror/Terror FANS:4.5*...ENJOY/DISFRUTELA!?!?(If you can!)

Any comments, questions or observations, in English or Español, are most welcome!
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Awful, not scary movie
jon748530 September 2009
The scariest thing about this film was how much time I wasted watching it. It was a kids movie with boobs. There wasn't anything scary about it. If you want to feel nostalgic about Halloween then look through childhood photos of yourself dressed as a pirate. It will be truer and you wont feel as angry when you're done. The acting was bad, the stories were bad, the effects were awful, there was nothing thrilling, scary, gory or even remotely interesting about this movie. It confounds me that so many people have voted this movie up so high. I really can not see the appeal. The movie was cheap, poorly made, and worst of all NOT SCARY AT ALL.
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I saw it!
catizzz99911 October 2008
This movie is So awesome. It is worth the wait. I wish they would release it now. It deserves a theater release-not straight to DVD. It is 4 stories that are intertwined. If you love Halloween you will love this movie!! The imagery alone is fantastic. The stories are great and Sam should be a cult classic. (He is the child in the movie.) It simply tells the rules of Halloween and you must obey them. Or else! Let's cross our fingers for a speedy release! I know I'm going to buy the DVD. I have no idea why the delay? The comedic timing mixes perfectly with the horror. It is scary in parts. It truly captures the meaning of Halloween to me.
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If you're bored, maybe.. If you're in the mood for horror, avoid this!
HighFlyer_1526 September 2009
I wanna keep this short, since you shouldn't waste your time reading this, when you could be out looking for great horror movies..

There's nothing scary in this movie.. No originality and no interesting stories..

I do not know how this movie has gotten praise, since it's boring..

"Oh but it sets the mood of Halloween so great!" That's not enough to make it a good movie.. This movie relies on tits and a little monster to keep things alive.. The little monster appears in the end of the movie, when you're already sleeping and the tits appear randomly through-out the movie..

Avoid this if you're looking for a good scare!!
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Waste of time, this movie is so overrated...
VeNoMmx4 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I was very enthusiast about this movie because of the hype and all the great comments and reviews so I decided to give it a shot having great expectations about this. Movie starts very good, has a lot of potential but in the middle of the movie things start to get out go control, stupid ideas, bad story and just a bad movie, everything goes downhill from that point.

All comments here or on the trailer state that this movie is an instant classic and that this is way better than many movies already and that this I a cult film, well I'm here to tell you this is so wrong and so much false advertising.

I'm really impressed about the poor standard of horror fans nowadays.

And if you see the "comedy" genre on this movie take it VERY seriously and forget about the drama/horror/thriller
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Nothing special at all, typical straight to DVD horror film 2/10
descentme28 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
How can this film be so highly rated, it was a typical straight to DVD horror. I have been looking out for TrT for a while now, thinking it will be very good. After watching the 10 min preview released with the DVD of Friday the 13th i thought this movie would be heaps good but i realised now, after watching TrT that the 10 min preview was the only good bit in the whole movie, the rest is boring and badly acted. i really don't understand how so many people can like this when it was so slow, crap acting and not remotely scary.

wow some dumb vampire virgin wants to kill someone, 3 kids pull a boring, unscary prank and a school principle kills a fat kid. wow nothing special there. the violence (the very few scenes that had it) was fake as. this whole movie was a let down, hyped up for 2 years by horror nerds.

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If you like good horror, this movie is not for you
agonist11 July 2010
Good horror movies are hard to find; ones made in Hollywood, doubly so. When I saw "Trick 'r Treat" was hovering around a 7 on the IMDb, I thought I might be in for an actual 'treat'. I was wrong. Don't waste your time on this movie, even if it's playing on basic cable and the only alternative is a marathon of Punky Brewster.

Without offering any spoilers (other than the movie sucks), my chief complaint is this: the actions of the characters often don't seem believable.

For example, from the opening: if you had decorated your house for Halloween more elaborately than even Disneyland, would you then start taking those decorations down right in the middle of Halloween night, while the streets are still teeming with children? No one would. The movie offers a feeble reason, but really it's just a device to put a character into a situation required by the plot. It also puts the viewer into the position of thinking, "this movie is really lame."

Much better contemporaries in the genre are "Drag Me to Hell" and "House of the Devil", each of which offer compelling stories and legitimate thrills & chills.
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Good reviews are a joke
spookybuk2 November 2009
This is one of those "out of the cartoon" horror movies that supposedly came out of old horror magazines. These movies are usually quite stupid, but I like them anyway. This would be a nice thing, if it was a nice move - but it isn't.

There's no scary moments, no laughs, no nothing. Just some very silly non-entertaining stories. This isn't a movie for adults, and kids wouldn't like it either. It's quite obvious the good reviews were manufactured by the studio - maybe some director's relative and so on. I was also mislead by the high IMDb score and just wasted my time.

You can watch it if you're curious - I know how does that feel. But don't expect much - for you surely also knows how bad it feels to get frustrated.
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The Movie was Shelved and Released STV and Horror Fans Rebelled
LeonLouisRicci13 October 2014
This May or May Not be the Best or the Worst Movie to be Denied a Theatrical Showing and Released Straight to Video but it has an Equal Amount of Appeal and Disappointment. The Best Thing is the Cool Looking Cinematography, Some Inspired Costuming, and Set Design. The Worst Thing is the Clumsy Composite of the Anthology that is Neither Coherent nor Adds Anything to the Film. It is a Muddled Misstep.

After All, if You are Going to Great Lengths to Provide a Picture that Appeals to the Intellect as Well as the Sophomoric Shenanigans of T&A and Gore, be a Bit More Coherent. Why Lose the Impact of the Horror with Sloppy Continuity. Trying to be a Fanciful, Modern Montage of Jointed Time and Place is Ambitious but You Need Some Creative Blending that is Enticing and Not Irritating.

Trying to Piece the Thing Together is a Puzzle that Pieces Together Works When it is Done Seamlessly. This is Not. It Taxes the Viewer in a way that Distracts from the Impact and When it is Done this Inadequately the Power of Presentation is Diminished.

This is a Movie where its Parts are Better than the Whole. There are Some Things that Work and a Great Deal that Doesn't. The Film Seems to be a Complexity that got Sidetracked by its Own Cleverness. Overall, it Might have Some Appeal for its Target Audience and has Gained a Substantial Cult Following.

It's Not Enough of a Good Thing and Too Much of a Conceit to be Anything More than a Curiosity that Got Shelved and the Fanbase is Trying its Best to Resurrect it as a Classic Halloween Holiday Movie and They have Gone Much too Far. Overrated.
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Trick r Treat a bit of a treat
chaseanace8 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Let's see where to begin... The movie TRICK 'R TREAT is four interwoven tales of horror.

The Principal. Some dumb boy doesn't check his candy before eating it and pays the ultimate price when he comes tries to pocket all the candy from the house that belongs to his Principal. Not bad on gore. It had some unpredictable stuff.

Surprise Party. Laurie the virgin walks through the woods while her friends go to a party with dates. She encounters a vampire who attacks her, but the twist is she and her girlfriends are the real wolves. Better than the Principal because it was more surprising.

Bus Massacre. The legend of the bus massacre where the 8 kids were so mentally disturbed that their parents paid the bus driver to off them. Then 30 years later four kids return to pay respects to the dead. This episode sucked bad. It was boring and predictable, one of the worst of the whole movie.

Meet Sam. In this episode we discover who is the boy with the sack on his head when he confronts Kreeg, who we learn is the survivor from the bus accident. This is probably the dumbest episode of all. It was too confusing to understand. All in all, while the movie wasn't the worst Direct to vid that I saw, it was just a little cut above the average crap. 6 out of 10.
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What a treat. Best Halloween film ever produced. BRAVO!
gregsrants21 August 2009
Over the past 12 months, I have heard countless good things about the horror film, Trick 'r Treat. How it was scary. How it was going to be a huge hit and the most talked about horror film since a hockey masked serial killer started stalking Camp Crystal Lake. How it won the Audience Award at Screamfest and how anyone who has seen the film on the festival circuit has wondered why the hell the film hasn't been recognized with a major distribution deal.

Twelve months is a long time, and even with all the good buzz surrounding the film, I began to wonder if it was worth the hype. When I happened across the screening of the film as part of the Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2009, I did everything I could to get tickets (which simply meant going on-line and purchasing a pair). To add to my experience, I brought my girlfriend along who, as luck would have it, enjoys horror films about as much as Octomom enjoys feeding time. My girlfriend is a screamer and I knew she would spend most of the movie either digging her nails into my arm or watching the movie through the half inch space between her fingers over her eyes.

This was going to be fun.

As I arrived at the theatre, it was evident that I was not the only one who was incredibly excited about the screening. There was someone in line who I thought was going to pee himself in exhilaration waiting to be let into the theatre. Others were talking rather enthusiastically about what they had heard about the film and how they couldn't wait for the October DVD release (even though they had yet to see the damn thing!).

As the lights went dim, the audience joined in whistles, cheers and applause. The Trick 'r Treating had begun.

Trick 'r Treat interweaves multiple stories in an anthology. Think of Creepshow as done by Tarantino and you get the idea.

The first story is short but sets the tone. It is only about 10 minutes (if that) in length and shows what can happen to you if you blow out the candle of a jack-o-lantern before midnight. This platform lead into four additional stories. One of an urban legend where a school bus of children went over a cliff, one of a school principle with serial killer tendencies, a story about a young girl trying to find a mate at a Halloween festival, and finally, a story about an old man who is haunted by a child like character (named Sam).

All five of the stories were incredible interesting, wonderfully shot and gloriously thrilling. Directed by Michael Dougherty (X-Men 2, Superman Returns) the film featured familiar faces such as Anna Paquin (True Blod), Brian Cox (X-Men 2), Dylan Baker (Spider-Man) and Leslie Bibb.

Each story was as good as the last. I thought they were all outstanding, and I now belong to the long list of screeners that wonder why the hell this film hasn't been able to secure a distribution deal. When horror films like Orphan and the Unborn can get wide releases, why can't a fantastically scary and well produced film like Trick 'r Treat get any respect? Trick 'r Treat is not the gore fest that many horror fans might be expecting. There are definitely elements of fright, but this is just good storytelling with a few scares and blood thrown in. There is some nudity, but nothing that should have this film slapped with a 'Restricted' banner.

The movie arrives on DVD in October and there is no doubt it will instantly become a classic. I could argue that this is maybe the best Halloween film ever made as it truly captured everything that is loved and feared on October 31st.
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An Interesting Anthology
FilmFreak9431 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Trick 'r Treat is four stories woven together one Halloween night. It follows a murdering principal, a group of young women going to a party, some kids visiting the site of a terrible accident, and an old shut in who hates Halloween and has a dark secret. The tales are not told chronologically and are connected by a small boy in a strange pumpkin costume with a burlap sack for a mask.

The first tale is that of principal Steven, who murders as a hobby. His most recent one is incredibly difficult to hide as he must keep his son quiet and avoid suspicion from his neighbor, Mr. Kreeg. But when his son finally gets on his last nerve, will he be his father's next victim?

The second tale follows a group of kids supposedly collecting pumpkins for Unicef. Their real intent is to visit the site where a school bus containing special needs children crashed into a rock quarry. A slightly different girl named Rhonda joins them and when they arrive the ringleader of the gang, Macy, retells the tale of how the bus crashed there. The bus driver was payed by the children's parents to get rid of them by driving the bus into the quarry. They are warned not to disturb the water in the quarry as it might unleash the spirits of the dead children. As it turns out this might be more true than they hoped.

The third tale is of a group of young women from out of town who are going to a party. They coax several local boys to be their dates for the evening. The youngest of the group, Laurie, is a self conscience virgin who awkwardly tries to find a date around town but has no luck. She is unaware that someone has already taken a shine to her, and is now following her waiting for the right moment.

The last story is that of Mr. Kreeg. A grumpy old man who despises Halloween. He scares children from his house and refuses to give out any of the candy he has. But when he gets a surprise visit from a boy in a strange costume and burlap sack he learns what happens when you don't obey the rules of All Hallow's Eve.

Each of the stories are told in a brilliant fashion. They mislead you cleverly with how the story will end and present an entirely different, and sometimes terrifying, conclusion. The film is rife with plenty of scares, dark humor, and suspense that makes the film a fun watch for the Halloween spirit.
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It's Not The Tale - It's How It's Told That Counts!!!
cchase13 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
TRICK 'R' TREAT sat by my DVD player for a good little while before I finally popped it in. The most recent mainstream horror offerings have been such letdowns of late, that I proceed with caution on almost anything I see that's not a remake. (And don't get me started on remakes!) Now I regret having waited so long.

Writer/director Michael Dougherty obviously knows and loves his anthologies...everything from the classic CREEPSHOW to the Hammer Studios greatest hits of yore like TALES FROM THE CRYPT and ASYLUM. There isn't any particular tale in his film that I could call strikingly original, but it's been one helluva long time since I've seen a film more stylishly or even-handedly presented.

Weaving together about a half-dozen interlocking stories, rather than doing each as a stand-alone tale as in George Romero's cult hit, TRICK 'R' TREAT employs everything eerie, unsettling and ghoulishly fun about the holiday to explore the classic campfire tropes that everybody knows and loves, but this time with plenty of fatalism mixed with liberal doses of good, hearty black humor.

The lone virgin in a group of her costumed girlfriends is stalked by a shadowy figure; a small-town principal moonlights as a serial killer, who treats himself to more than a few gory tricks at his victims' expense; a group of teenagers single out one of their peers for a Halloween Night prank that goes wrong in a way they could've never imagined; the neighborhood curmudgeon who is basically the "Ebenezer Scrooge" of All Hallows' Eve, gets his comeuppance when his secret past comes to call, and a couple of partygoers find out the hard way why you should NEVER, EVER blow out your Jack O' Lantern early on Halloween Night.

Featuring a cast of actors who either weren't big names when they did this, or recognizable character actors who are known for their great performances, the lineup includes TRUE BLOOD'S Anna Paquin, BSG's Tahmoh Penikett, CSI's Lauren Lee Smith, Dylan Baker and Brian Cox, who gives a well-done turn as the grizzled "mean old man", that CREEPSHOW'S late, great E.G. Marshall could appreciate.

Co-produced by Bryan Singer under his Bad Hat Harry Films banner, it's obvious from the production values that Dougherty was given plenty of resources (read: $$$) to go out and make the film he wanted. It's not so much puzzling as it is infuriating that it never got the full promotional push from Warner's that it deserved, (possibly because of the angle of putting kids in jeopardy and not flinching from the horrific consequences, even in a fantasy context.)

However, it's a fortunate thing that the DVD format allows films like this to find an audience, rather than slipping unnoticed into a dusty archive somewhere, never to see the light of day. Kudos to Mr. Dougherty and his cast and crew for putting together what deserves to become a Halloween staple. For my part, it's going on my library shelf right between perennial favorites CREEPSHOW and CARRIE, and like them, it will get played a lot more often than just at "candy-and-costumes" time.
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Superior Halloween-themed horror anthology winner
Woodyanders27 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Four horror stories centering on October 31st: Nerdy high school principal Steven (a pleasingly creepy turn by Dylan Baker) moonlights as a vicious serial killer; sweet young virgin Laurie (an excellent and appealing performance by the lovely Anna Paquin) tries to find Mr. Right with gruesome results; a group of teens pull a cruel prank on a strange girl with disastrous consequences; and cranky old coot Mr. Kreeg (a marvelously cantankerous portrayal by Brian Cox) receives a special home visit from mischievous trick-or-treating demon Sam (the adorable Quinn Lord). Writer/director Michael Dougherty relates the entertaining segments at a brisk pace, delivers a handy helping of gore, offers several inspired moments of wickedly funny pitch-black humor, and caps off each vignette with a dandy ghoulish surprise twist. Moreover, Dougherty not only vividly captures the fun spooky ooga-booga midnight-in-the-graveyard spirit of the Halloween season, but also manages to make all the tales overlap and interconnect in a clever and enjoyable way that gives this film an extra satisfying cohesion that a fair share of omnibus fright features tend to lack. Glen MacPherson's crisp widescreen cinematography provides a strikingly sumptuous look. The shivery score by Douglas Pipes hits the stirring spine-tingling spot. A total treat.
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Embraces the Spirit of Halloween
brando64724 July 2011
I hope there was a good reason this film wasn't given nationwide release in theaters. A lot of the early reviews I'd read had spoke of how this film was one of the best Halloween-themed movies in years but for whatever reason (studio politics, I assume) it was shelved until it's eventual home release. It was excited to finally see it and it lived up to a lot of the hype. The film is an anthology of four stories occurring over Halloween night, with a introduction featuring the beautiful Leslie Bibb demonstrating what happens when you disrespect the spirits on All Hallows' Eve. The movie is R-rated, a pleasant surprise in a time where most horror movies soften their punches for the more popular PG-13 in an attempt to widen their audience. The film is also a nice break from the torture porn that's come to dominate the horror genre with films like SAW popping out every year or the gore-fests like the FINAL DESTINATION series. The film has it's share of bloody messes but it doesn't rely on it for the scares. TRICK 'R TREAT does a great job creating atmosphere and misdirecting the viewer to build tension.

The movie has a fantastic cast with loads of familiar faces but without the distraction of an A-list star to hog the spotlight. Dylan Baker, primarily known (to me, anyway) for his role in the Sam Raimi SPIDER-MAN films as Dr. Curt Connors, leads the anthology in the first story as a school principal with some twisted Halloween rituals. Anna Paquin (the X-MEN films, HBO's "True Blood") is a virgin attending a Halloween party with a group of friends pressuring her to have her "first experience". In my favorite mini-story from the film, the ever-awesome Brian Cox is a curmudgeonly hermit who hates Halloween with a passion and comes face-to-face with a sack-masked little demon that I wish had been given the chance to become an horror icon in future anthology installments. Unfortunately, with the quiet, direct to home video release this movie received, the best to hope for is cult status in people finding this movie on their own. It's a brutal sequence in which Cox's character comes face-to-face with the spirit of Halloween and learns to play by the rules or die.

The only story in the series that didn't break any new ground to me was the tale of a group of friends who decide to play a clichéd prank on a young girl, the town's idiot savant. Whereas the three other stories managed to catch my attention with their own twists, this story was a paint-by-numbers bit I'd seen before in countless Halloween-themed TV specials. It was predictable enough that I was able to call pretty much every point before it happened. Entertaining enough, I suppose, and it's not as if it ruined the movie. This film, from writer Michael Dougherty in his second directing gig, is a blast to watch. I hope the word of mouth gets around and it gets the attention it deserves. It's a creepy film and it totally embraces the spirit of the holiday. I know it'll become an annual staple every October for me.
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