The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 12
When it comes to horror movies, there is a very thin line between the following goals for audience reaction: Entertainment and torment. The problem with most horror movies these days is that they take themselves too seriously, to the point that it isn't fun to watch. High examples are torture-porn films such as Saw and Hostel. And as much as I loved the French film, Martyrs, it is still such a disgusting movie, it's not like I would like to see a girl skinned alive for a second time. Then there's also the movies that don't take themselves seriously enough: Such as The Final Destination or Sorority Row. Although their laughs may or may not be intentional, they aren't scary, and worn from an over-used premise (death and fate killing teenagers, and 'I Know What You Did Last Summer' ripoffs). And yet, studios are giving all these bad horror films the right to studios, while real gems, the ones that are able to ably balance torment and entertainment, are stuck with straight-to-DVD releases. Such is the case of this movie.
Trick 'R' Treat, made by Halloween fanatic Michael Doughtery, was finished and slated for an October 2007 release, but due to studios being too busy throwing in another crappy 'Saw' sequel, it was pushed all the way to two years later, and for what? A straight-to-DVD release? Now that's true horror. This is a movie that is truly something unique, compared to most of the studio releases.
Michael Doughtery takes all of Halloween's many traditions and uses them to full effect. The premise of the film is something that will truly get you into the holiday spirit, stating that all of the traditions of Halloween such as handing treats and lighting jack-o-lanterns, were ancient ways of repelling evil spirits. Nowadays, they are treated for mere fun, and people have forgotten their true meaning. One of the main strengths, of this movie, is, surprisingly, the plot...or what little plot there is. Films like 'Saw' have convoluted their plot to such a degree that they are more confusing than all of the seasons of LOST and X-Files combined. However, the plot here is taken seriously, yet also, kept simple and best of all, ghoulishly fun.
It is basically an anthology of four short stories, only rather than a Stephen King collection, all four of the stories are "connected", and it is amazing how the director has intertwined all of these plot lines. Whether it is merely two characters bumping into each other on the street, or a high conflict, the way it all unfolds is surprisingly simple, yet absolutely well-done. These stories include, a principal who also works part time as a serial killer, a group of kids who deliver a cruel prank, a group of sexy (:3) girls who don't get the dates they bargained for, and a grumpy old man who is out of the Halloween spirit. Each of them have a unique twist, to them, both in terms of, "Oh crap, I wasn't expecting that", and in terms of how the stories intertwine.
Another great strength is the atmosphere, which captures the spirit of Halloween in the most amazing way possible since "Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas". With an autumn color palette, moody lighting, and some fine acting (though nothing too note-worthy), it all piles up into what is the perfect movie for Halloween right next to John Carpenter's classic Michael Meyers slasher. Trick R Treat gets a 5/5 simply for being what it sets out to be and more, an entertaining horror film that is absolutely perfect for the season, and also, a brilliant connection of stories brought together. Although I am actually arguing with myself about the score, it is just such a fun watch that to place it any lower would be like I'm breaking a Halloween tradition. And after watching this movie, that is definitely not a good idea >_>