Wednesday 7 October 2009

Trick 'r Treat

Sadly, this film got stuck in distribution hell as no one would pick it up for a theatrical release. Now, a year later and after having played very well at festivals, the film is out on DVD.

Trick 'r Treat is a horror anthology but unlike a lot of other anthologies, it's structured differently. Instead of returning to a central place between each new segment, the stories are interwoven as characters move about the town on Halloween; stars of one story appear briefly in others to create an organic whole.

The film begins with a murder and then backtracks a few hours to earlier that night. Since the stories are contemporaneous, they overlap to a certain extent. The first story is about a school principal with a dark secret. The second follows a group of kids who play a cruel prank on one of their peers. The third story tells the tale of a young woman as she searches for a sexual partner, and the final installment is about a man who's haunted by his past.

Though the film is broken down into four distinct stories, all of which take place on the same night, the movie gives the impression as being part of a much larger series of events; it succeeds in creating a believable world in which dark spirits manifest in different and varied ways. The world of Trick 'r Treat is mostly benign but people must follow the rules that govern Halloween in order to survive the night.

Far from being a cautionary tale, Trick 'r Treat's rules ensure that life is properly respected. Karma, or perhaps more appropriately just desserts, guides the events that take place in the film. And the character of Sam, who might be considered the spirit of Halloween, sort of acts as a guide for for this karmic will. Sam appears to each main character, and though they don't know it, he's marked them for destruction or salvation, or both.

Trick 'r Treat is really a great little film. Not terribly scary, the movie is actually pretty light. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Though Halloween is when most film lovers dedicate themselves almost exclusively to horror, there are few good Halloween-themed horror movies out there. Trick 'r Treat's timely, if a year late, release nicely fills that void in our lives.

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