I watch this movie every single year, and every single year I feel like Trick R’ Treat is completely under appreciated. After six years, I still find this Halloween feature, complete with the interconnected segments I so crave from Horror of the season, enjoyable, which is really saying something. Horror may suffer more than any other genre from the fallbacks of possible rewatchability. Once viewers learn who the killer is, why the ghost is haunting the living, or find out whether the zombie killing champion lives or dies, the chances that they would want to watch the film again are pretty slim. So in order for a horror movie to have the kind of re-watch value that Trick R’ Treat has, it means that the film must get it right on multiple levels.
WARNING: Thickly Veiled, but Potential Spoilers
Since this is a segmented feature, the pieces have to be tied together pretty carefully, and they are. We see characters from one segment, walking in the background of others. We also find out that several of the characters are actually neighbors, and that some of their actions in earlier scenes make a lot more sense once we see their part in the story. Most notable of course are Principal Steven’s interactions with the grumpy Mr. Kregg (Brian Cox in a prosthetic nose that makes him nearly unrecognizable). We’re confused when we see Mr. Kregg banging from the inside of his living room window during Principal Steven’s story, but later on we find out just why he wanted to get his neighbor’s attention! While I’m on the subject; how can you not love Principal Stevens? The guy is that perfect kind of creepy where his face looks super-nice while he’s committing heinous acts of violence. Unfortunately for Stevens, he will get tangled up in the wrong segment later in the film, but not before he does some humorous damage of his own.
Probably everyone’s favorite part of this movie is the story with the masterfully orchestrated flashback scene, in which we get to see the city’s special children in their especially disturbing 1970’s costumes. The story is told in the perfect vein of Halloween, with kids whispering it in a foggy setting. Some pre-teens have collected jack-o-lanterns as a tribute to those who were lost forever on that faithful bus ride, and as a means to pull off an elaborate act of meanness that can hit a little close to home for some of us viewers. Naturally, those who are keen on Halloween in the first place will also love the Rhonda character, who’s featured in this segment. She’s the quintessential nerdy gal who loves everything about the holiday, and is the butt of the prank that’s about to transpire. In a delightful twist, she totally gets her comeuppance against the snooty blonde in the angel costume, in the one part of this movie that is genuinely disturbing. This segment also ties in neatly with the rest of the narrative, but I really don’t want to spoil that one. Just, pay attention to Rhonda’s awesome, jack-lantern covered yard.
Of course, this glowing review doesn’t mean that Trick R’ Treat isn’t without its faults. The werewolves look sort of silly upon reveal (why, oh why did they NOT make them bipedal?), and for female viewers it’s pretty annoying to watch Anna Paquin and crew prance around with their bosoms exploding out of their princess costumes. I think the director wanted this segment to empower women, but it really doesn’t. If anything, it just reinforces the idea that women have to use their sexuality in order to dominate, and let’s not kid ourselves, that tired concept is really meant to fuel lascivious thoughts in the male audience. But hey, whatever. Werewolves, am I right? In addition to the overall silliness of the werewolf segment, the primary villain unfortunately looks better with his burlap mask on than he does once his true face is shown. Now, don’t get me wrong; I think Sam is SUPER cool. He’s creepy, he’s a kid, and he kills people with a lolly. I just wish that his face was a little creepier than it is, in all it’s animatronic demon glory.
Overall, this movie is awesome. If you are reading this review right now and you have not seen it yet, shame on you!