The story behind Trick ‘r Treat is almost as interesting as the film itself. Finished in 2007, the film got caught up in some politicking and marketing concerns. Not a very expensive movie – after being sneaked in LA, and shown at Butt-Numb-a-Thon – it’s just now coming out on DVD and Blu-ray. Somewhat unfairly. My review after the jump.
The internet has done a good job of hyping the film if you’re in those circles, and the film is modest but entertaining. It intercuts a number of different Halloween tales, like if somehow Creepshow had interconnecting narratives. It starts with a family (headed by Leslie Bibb) taking down their Halloween decorations, only for it all to end in violence. There’s a group of girls (featuring Anna Paquin) making their way to a Halloween party in the woods, a group of young teens who go to where a school bus filled with troubled kids was dumped in a lake and pay their respects, a Principal (Dylan Baker) who decides Halloween is a perfect time for a little manslaughter, and a crazy next door neighbor (Brian Cox), who is haunted by the monster elf-child that adorns the DVD cover.
Tight, running at less than 90 minutes, Trick ‘r Treat is a nasty bit of fun, and there’s at least one great thing in that the structure is such that how it ties everything together is very inventive, with the film keeping you guessing where you are in the narrative of the evening, and that’s a fun in a way that even films like Go or others that have gone for that time-fuck thing where there are overlapping narratives transcends referencing simply Pulp Fiction or Memento (the two biggest structure fucks of the last twenty years). What it lacks is much character development, it’s done in the classic EC comics-style. Characters are written in sketches, and there’s no real development. So it’s about the fun of watching the not-so innocent or truly horrible suffer, painful somewhat ironic deaths. The film didn’t deserve this fate, it’s been punished for not being a remake, or a cookie cutter type of slasher film, which is unfortunate, but it’s a fun but modest genre entry in a genre that can elevate such things way above their station. Still, if you like horror movies, it’s definitely one of the most inventive and fun films of genre in a long time.
Warner Brothers has put the film out on Blu-ray and DVD. The Blu-ray has a number of additional features, while the Standard def presents the film in anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) and in pan and scan in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround. The transfer is excellent though in either version. The only extra is the short film that inspired the movie “Season’s Greetings,”(4 min.) which comes with an optional commentary by Mike Dougherty. And Happy Halloween.