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31 Days of Horror: Trick ‘r Treat

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Trick ‘r Treat (2009)

Trick 'r TreatSynopsis: The residents of the small town of Warren Valley, Ohio, take Halloween seriously… possibly too seriously. The film tells several stories that take place in the town on Halloween, tying them together with violence and murder. “The Principal” takes a look at a murderous principal and his demented family. “Surprise Party” shows the bizarre fate of a group of hot school girls who go to a party deep in the woods. “The Halloween School Bus Massacre Revisited” follows a group of kids trying to scare the pants off one of their classmates with a decades-old story of murder. And finally, “Meet Sam” shows the fate of a bitter old man when the wrong trick-or-treater comes to his house.

Killer Scene: There are plenty of killer scenes in this film, if you’ll pardon the pun. However, my personal favorite has to be the climax of “Surprise Party,” featuring True Blood’s Anna Paquin – and plenty of her sexy friends – in a truly bloody result.

KillSheet

skulls-3Violence: For an R-rated direct-to-DVD film, Trick ‘r Treat has a nice selection of kills and other mayhem. Each of the stories, as well as the wrap-around scenes, deliver in the blood department. They also serve up a nice slate of creative deaths without resorting to torture porn. There’s decapitations, mutilations and people getting eaten. All the violence falls into the R-rated category but it’s not so intense that it can’t be enjoyed as a slice of old fashioned Halloween fun.

skulls-15Sex: If there’s any place that this film is lacking, it is in the jiggle department. Sure, you have Anna Paquin and her gal pals in their slutty Halloween costumes, with cleavage aplenty, but the titillation pretty much ends there. Even the adorable Leslie Bibb is almost completely covered while in both her Halloween costume and her street clothes. There’s a nice boobie shot at the end of “Surprise Party,” but it’s nothing to write home about.

skulls-25Scares: Let’s just say that if you’re a teenager who hasn’t seen many horror films or haven’t picked up a classic horror comic, you’ll be scared out of your wits with this movie. However, if you have any experience with horror flicks, you’ll see most of the scares coming a mile away. That doesn’t necessarily make the movie bad as an anthology film like this always relies on a bit of cliche. Like Creepshow, there isn’t a lot of surprises, but the cinematography and the atmosphere of the film plays into the Halloween spirit, if you’ll pardon the pun.

Final Thoughts: This much-buzzed-about and highly anticipated horror film was to have a theatrical release a couple years ago but was pushed to home video release that didn’t even make it to all the critics in time for the DVD and Blu-ray to hit the streets. That’s a real shame because this film could have shown some promise as a flick to ring in the Halloween season. There are few films out there that get me into the Halloween mood (with It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown being one of them), and this one works very effectively. The cast is pretty solid with great performances by Dylan Baker and Brian Cox, plus a nice selection of familiar faces from BSG’s Tahmoh Penikett to the fat kid from Bad Santa. For the mainstream crowd, this film will be forgettable, but for horror fans, this is a keeper.

Kevin Carr crawled from the primordial ooze in the early 1970s. He grew up watching movies to the point of irritation for his friends and was a font of useless movie knowledge until he decided to put that knowledge to good use. Now, Kevin is a nationally syndicated critic, heard on dozens of radio stations around the country, and his reviews appear in a variety of online outlets. Kevin is also a proud member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA).

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