Notable Cast: Anna Paquin, Dylan Baker, Brian Cox
I waited to watch this little monster of a film twice before reviewing it because I wanted to make sure my first viewing wasn't skewed by unhindered anticipation of finally getting to see this highly acclaimed horror film. Believe it or not, I enjoyed this film quite a bit more on second viewing (I still immensely enjoyed it first time around too) as I was more open to its structuring and some of the details of how this anthology film plays out. By and by though, "Trick R Treat" is one of the best horror films in modern cinema and one that will instantly become a cult classic as the years pass.
"Trick R Treat" marks a return of an anthology style film to horror (similar to the somewhat comic-book styles of "Creepshow" or "Tales From The Darkside" did in decades past) and this film not only contains four different stories within its folds, but in an almost Guy Ritchie sense of style the movie jumps between the four and around in the timeline as the stories all weave within each other and take place at the same time. This structuring made it a little overwhelming my first time through (still loved it as it was fairly easy to swallow still), but another spin through it and I found myself engrossed with its fantastical storytelling and how all the stories wove together. It was a nice new twist to the anthology style that worked perfectly for me. Some might find it a bit tough to follow and place in time line, but stick with it and it pays off.
I must also say that Michael Dougherty is perhaps my new love in writing and directing horror. All of the acting was pretty solid for their limited times on screen including a memorable piece from Brian Cox as a disgruntled old man, but Dougherty's vision of this film is immaculate. His visual style is slick and creative, bringing to mind Sam Raimi more then once with some cool camera quirks and his magnificent attention to detail in the dialogue and overall production is pretty ingenious. I don't want to give too much about the different tales away, but an example of his detail work can easily be seen with the 'red riding hood tale'. Once you know the twist (no spoiler here) go back and watch the clever wording of the dialogue earlier in the story and it makes the ending seem so obvious. Again, I noticed these details on my second watch so I suggest multiple viewings. Not to mention all of his detail work to make the stories weave is impressive too. This film is solid from foundation to decoration and much of it is through Dougherty's brilliant vision and execution of how it all works together.
This film wasn't all that 'scary' perhaps coming off with enough comedic tone to set the mood right even with some nice jump scares and nice tension (especially in old man Kreeg's story), but its solid writing, vision, and look makes this a must see horror film. It perfectly inhabits the feeling of Halloween and all its nuances if there was ever a film to do so. Here's to hoping that he makes a franchise out of the "Trick R Treat" ideology as I am definitely in the craving for more tales.
Written By Matt Reifschneider