Directed By: Michael Dougherty
Starring: Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, Dylan Baker
Tag line: "If you don't follow the rules tonight, you won't live to see tomorrow"
Trivia: Because the film was shot primarily at night, little people had to stand in for kids in the trick or treating scenes
Halloween is the greatest time of year for horror fans, and each of us has our own “tradition” when it comes to the films we watch leading up to the big day. Personally, I like to kick October off with the classics, like Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Wolf Man, then close things out with two Rob Zombie movies: House of 1,000 Corpses (on Oct. 30th) and The Devil’s Rejects (on Halloween Night). Another film I’ve recently added to the holiday rotation is writer / director Michael Dougherty’s 2007 anthology, Trick ‘r Treat, a movie that celebrates Halloween while also sending a few chills running down your spine.
It’s Halloween night in a small suburban neighborhood, and there’s something sinister in the air. A married couple (Tahmoh Penikett and Leslie Bibb) discovers what happens when you blow out the candle inside your jack-o-lantern too early, while young Charlie (Brett Kelly) has a rather messy run-in with his school’s principle, Mr. Wilkins (Dylan Baker), a man who takes Halloween very seriously. As this is going on, five kids are heading out to the quarry, where, legend has it, a school bus filled with special-needs children crashed thirty years ago, sending the unfortunate tykes to an early grave. Meanwhile, back in town, some teenage girls, including the virginal Laurie (Anna Paquin), are looking for local boys to “party” with, and a nasty shut-in named Mr. Kreeg (Brian Cox), who despises Halloween and everything associated with it, is being terrorized by “Sam” (Quinn Lord), a pint-sized trick-or-treater intent on teaching the old guy a lesson he won’t soon forget.
Usually, when it comes to anthologies, some sequences are stronger than others, yet every storyline that makes up Trick ‘r Treat is a winner. Dylan Baker is convincingly menacing as the educator hiding a dirty little secret, as is Anna Paquin, who, along with her smoking-hot pals (played by Lauren Lee Smith, Rochelle Aytes and Moneca Delain), has a surprise or two for the horny guys they’ve lured into the woods. The story involving the kids at the Quarry is perhaps the creepiest, and what starts as a Halloween prank soon turns into something much worse. The link connecting each tale is the character of “Sam”, who, along with giving Kreeg a hard time, watches over the entire town, making sure everyone follows the strict traditions of Halloween (naturally, those who don’t suffer the consequences).
A film that also pays tribute to the myths and legends associated with the holiday, Trick ‘r Treat is an entertaining fright fest, and the perfect movie to watch during the Halloween season.