This entry in Splatter Time Fun Fest 2010 has candy with razor blades in it, which is only slightly more bad for you than candy without razor blades!
Written By: Michael Dougherty
Directed By: Michael Dougherty
Have you ever walked into a room at the end of a joke and felt lost? Everyone around you is laughing, having a gay old time, and you are stuck standing at the edge of the group with an awkward smirk on your face. You’ve been left out, you have no idea why those final few words you heard would be considered funny. You’re sure that the people in the room have a good reason for laughing, but you missed whatever it was that cracked them up. That describes my thoughts on Trick ‘R Treat, whatever it was about Trick ‘R Treat that captured the fancy of regular film goers and hardcore horror fans escaped my attention. I feel like I have been left out in the cold, wondering what others witnessed that I didn’t.
Let’s start with the positive, there are moments where Trick ‘R Treat looks fantastic. A few images here and there stick in my head, and I recognize that the cinematographer, at times, knows what he is doing with the set up of his shots. There were also a few moments that interested me and I found myself chuckling at a few of the moments that actually delivered on the promises of the people who recommended Trick ‘R Treat to me as a fun horror romp. I love Dylan Baker in everything he is in, and thankfully the robot that is Tahmoh Penikett was only on screen for a few minutes and didn’t have a chance to completely kill whatever momentum the film was trying to establish.
Those are the positives, yeah, there aren’t a lot of them, I know. I wish there were more, I wish the streak of me at the very least liking every film in this years Splatter Time Fun Fest had continued, but the truck stops with Trick ‘R Treat. I know what the film was going for, I know that Michael Dougherty was trying for an anthology approach focused more on a classically fun horror type of storytelling. The problems start early, and they never really let up. There isn’t an overall joining force to connect the stories enough for me to care. Trick ‘R Treat uses comic book panels in its opening credits and briefly before the credits begin to roll, and those fit with my misgivings. Trick ‘R Treat left me with the distinct feeling that Dougherty read a bunch of horror comics and wanted to implement the old anthology format found in many of them, but didn’t really want to be bothered with either producing individual stories or stories that truly connect.
As Trick ‘R Treat rolled along it became an increasingly predictable film, Dougherty tried to mask this by going for the opposite of what would usually be expected. The reason that doesn’t work is because after the first pumpkin carving moment when the film does go in the opposite direction that you expect a horror film to go in, it does that every single time. It presents a standard horror scenario, stays true to that scenario until near the end of the story being told then does the opposite, in a vain attempt to be different. But, if you know the film is going to go in a different direction at the same exact moment in every story being told that becomes predictable and saps all the fun out of the film. Trick ‘R Treat tries very hard to sell itself as a refreshing horror movie, but it’s too predictable to be refreshing.
Another way in which Trick ‘R Treat is very predictable is in its attempts to scare. Admittedly, you all know that I don’t get scared at horror movies, but even I could recognize that Trick ‘R Treat went for the most base level of scares. This is a movie where the scares are predicated on things jumping out at you, on its oppressive and annoying music guiding the path of the scares, and so on. There’s no suspense to be spoken of in Trick ‘R Treat, only a series of attempted jump scares that I don’t believe will make a single soul jump out of their seats.
I missed the bus, I know that I did. Many people really liked Trick ‘R Treat, people whose opinions I respect. I wish I could have gone along for the ride, but outside of a few select moments Trick ‘R Treat irritated me at every turn. To those people who are looking for good modern horror or refreshing modern horror and are thinking of turning to Trick ‘R Treat, I advise you to steer away from the film with the badly constructed werewolves. There are good modern horror movies out there that are very refreshing in their take on horror, I’ve reviewed some of them, but Trick ‘R Treat isn’t such a movie. It’s a predictable, boring and failed jump scare horror film that can be avoided. Don’t worry about missing that bus with me, if anything Trick ‘R Treat proves we are better on the ground than in that bus.