Main cast: Leslie Bibb (Emma), Tahmoh Penikett (Henry), Brett Kelly (Charlie), Dylan Baker (Principal Steven Wilkins), Connor Levins (Billy), Samm Todd (Rhonda), Britt McKillip (Macy), Quinn Lord (Sam), Isabelle Deluce (Sara), Jean-Luc Bilodeau (Schrader), Anna Paquin (Laurie), Lauren Lee Smith (Danielle), Moneca Delain (Janet), Rochelle Aytes (Maria), and Brian Cox (Mr Kreeg)
Director: Michael Dougherty
Trick ’r Treat is an unexpected delight of a horror movie. It is Halloween night in Warren Valley, an Ohio town that takes the celebration to a most festive level. With all the monsters on the prowl, it is inevitable that some genuine monsters are on the hunt as well. This movie has five interconnected short story arcs that, when put together, conjures a wickedly fabulous nightmare scenario of the mayhem and gore that can take place on Halloween night.
The shortest story arc is also the opening segment, where a married couple, Emma and Henry, return home from their Halloween evening celebrations. Despite being warned by Henry that she may be breaking some old Halloween traditions, Emma decides to start clearing the Halloween decorations in the front yard. She breaks the rule about never blowing out the candle in your jack-o-lantern before midnight and pays for it with her life.
Then we have the twisted tale of Principal Steven Wilkins who uses Halloween as an excuse to indulge in his favorite past time: killing kids who steal his candy. This is a horrifying yet wickedly enjoyable story line because some of things done by Principal Wilkins is truly ghastly. Dylan Baker does an excellent job playing the deranged Principal who, despite being a complete psychopath, has his charms.
Meanwhile, there are four young ladies in town, dressed to kill and looking for dates for a party at the nearby woods. Danielle is in town with her sister Laurie as well as their friends Maria and Janet. Danielle is worried because Laurie at 22 is still a virgin. Laurie insists that she wants her first time to be special, so she asks to be left behind as the other ladies take off with their dates. Dressed appropriately in a Little Red Riding Hood costume, Laurie wanders along the streets, not knowing that there are some very dangerous men out there who prey on women like her.
And then we have four teenagers who decide to play a trick on the resident Carrie-like kook. Macy, Sam, and Sara get the cute guy Schrader to invite the strange Rhonda along with them for what seems like a Halloween pilgrimage of sorts at the nearby quarry. Rhonda, who seems to have a crush on Schrader, happily goes along. Macy reveals to them the horrifying urban legend that surrounds the abandoned quarry – years ago, a bus driver was paid by the parents of some mentally handicapped kids to get rid of those kids in a discreet manner. He planned to, I don’t know, feed them poisoned candy or something (it is never made clear what he wanted to do), but one of them managed to seize control of the steering wheel and drove the bus over the cliff and down into the murky waters. Because the kids were chained to their seats (the one who got into the driver’s seat managed to break free of his chains), they all drowned. The driver survived, but he was never to be seen or heard from again. Back to the present, the kids are to use a rickety elevator to descend down the quarry and leave behind lit jack-o-lanterns as a tribute to these poor mentally handicapped kids. I’d let you guess what happens next.
And finally, we have a reclusive angry old man, Mr Kreeg, who hates Halloween. He gets an unexpected visitor that night, a diminutive creature dressed as a walking jack-o-lantern who manages to put up a good fight and leave the poor man terrified out of his wits.
All stories are connected in at least one manner, but they are not narrated in chronological order. Don’t worry, by the last act, the pieces will start to come together and the big picture will be revealed. Trick ’r Treat works beautifully because it is a simple movie that doesn’t try too hard to be clever or funny but at the same succeeds in giving me some of the best scares ever. While the movie adheres to some horror movie tropes, it also playfully subverts some of them. This movie, therefore, has some pretty good surprises in store for the viewer. This is easily one of the most entertaining retro-style horror flicks I’ve watched in a while. I love it!
Oh, and that cute little pumpkin guy is too adorable for words!