Warner Home Video:
Release date: October 6, 2009
MSRP: $27.98 (dvd), $35.99 (Blu-ray)

Director: Michael Dougherty
Writer: Michael Dougherty

Stars: Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, Dylan Baker, Rochelle Aytes, Quinn Lord

Once upon a time, horror films were scary. Music and lighting were used to build suspense and keep us on the edge of our seats. Most modern “horror” films focus more on gore and brutality, not simply killing but doing it slowly and offering the viewers a front row seat to each slice. The advent of torture porn is, in my opinion, the worst thing to hit films since Joel Schumacher.

For anyone that feels the same way, TRICK R’ TREAT is a must see.

Michael Dougherty has crafted a smart, fun spooky film that puts the celebration of Halloween front and center, offering up ghouls, the dead rising from the Earth, werewolves and other delightful staples of the genre, he lovingly crafts a batch of tales designed to make you jump out of your seat, not lose your lunch.

These tales are set in a small town in Ohio. Every Halloween, the community goes all out with wild decorations, a big party in the center of town and, of course, children decked out on costumes. We have a sweet, young girl looking for romance, a school principal skulking about in the dead of night, teens gathering in the woods (never a good thing in horror movies) for some fun, the exploration of a legend of a school bus tragedy and a battle between a cranky curmudgeon and an enigmatic child wearing a sack over his head (for good reason!). I am purposefully not going into much detail as the surprises and chills are better left to be experienced without any forewarning.

TrT does a pretty impressive job of mixing humor and chills. In many films, the result of this marriage can result in awkwardness and poor pacing. Writer/director Dougherty shows remarkable skills, I would have never guessed this was his directing debut. He plays with the traditions of the genre and still manages for present a film that feels fresh.

Extras: I would have loved a batch of goodies that showed us what went into making this film. Sadly, they are not here. We do get one delightful little nugget: TRICK ‘R TREAT: Seasons Greetings (3:48). It is an animated short from 1996 that features Sam (the bag-wearing little tyke) and clearly was the genesis for the feature film. It has an optional commentary from Dougherty.

So anyone looking for a genuine scary film, this is one for you. The cast does an excellent job with the stories they have been given and newbie director Dougherty delivers with the touch of an old hand.


Jeremy Lynch

For more reviews from myself, and the rest of the Crimespree crew, check out the index of reviews.