Starring: Dylan Baker, Ann Paquin, Brian Cox, Leslie Bibb
Running time: 82 Minutes
Directed by: Michael Dougherty
Year of release: 2007
Trick ‘r Treat is a film that had an odd journey…It was finished in 2007 and began gaining notoriety and developing a cult status on the film festival circuit. But for various reasons it would be two years later, in 2009, before it would be released directly on DVD. Rumors of a sequel began almost immediately. In October 2013, Director Michael Dougherty and Legendary Pictures officially announced a sequel, titled Trick ‘r Treat 2, but few details have emerged.
Trick ‘r Treat is an anthology film featuring four different Halloween-themed stories and all tied together by a mysterious trick-or-treater named Sam, who appears to be a child dressed in pajamas with a burlap sack for a mask.
In the first story, the town principal (Baker) catches a neighbor kid stealing candy and lectures him about stealing. He gives the boy a piece of poisoned candy and will later use the boy in a ghoulish Halloween tradition. In “The School Bus Massacre Revisited” several trick-or-treaters take a trip to a local quarry where 30 years earlier, a bus carrying a group of mentally challenged kids drove into a lake, killing them all. It is revealed that their parents paid the bus driver to kill the children because of the burden they caused. The trick-or-treaters unwittingly wake the dead kids, bringing them to life so they can have their revenge.
“Surprise Party” finds Laurie (Paquin), a shy virgin, going to a party as her sister and friends talk about all the men who will be there. As they party beside a bonfire, Laurie and her friends reveal their true selves in a horrific way.
Lastly we have “Meet Sam” in which the Halloween-hating Mr. Kreeg (Cox) scares away all the kids who come to his door for candy. He then encounters Sam, the child in the pajamas and burlap sack. It is Sam’s job to punish those who don’t follow Halloween traditions.
Sam shows up in each of the stories and once you see all of them the entire film comes together perfectly like a puzzle that was assembled in random order. It’s the kind of film that makes you immediately want to go back and watch it again now that you have seen how all of the individual segments all mesh into the greater whole.
Trick ‘r Treat is heavily influence by the macabre EC comic books of the 1950s as they all have an ironic twist in which the antagonist gets his comeuppance at the end, and in horrific manner. It is easily the best film about Halloween since…well…John Carpenter’s 1978 classic. It hits on all the wonderful traditions of the holiday like carving pumpkins, playing tricks, decorating the yard, and trick-or-treating. It’s a shame that Dougherty hasn’t capitalized on how good the film is by getting a sequel out sooner…or at all. Sam could definitely rank right up there with Michael Myer, Jason, and Freddy Krueger as a horror icon.
If you’ve never seen Trick ‘r Treat, go out and find it tonight. And if you have, then watch it again!