TRICK ‘R TREAT (2007)
THE GIST: Think of this straight-to-video flick as Creepshow meets Halloween. One Halloween night in suburbia, five groups of people learn that your parents’ pumpkin day warnings should never be taken lightly – while a seemingly costumed little critter named Sam watches from afar. A young couple finds out that you really shouldn’t blow out a jack-o’-lantern before midnight – if you want to stay alive. A young boy learns that you really do need to check your candy – even when it comes from someone you trust. A virginal Anna Paquin sees what really happens when you wander away from the pack – with a tall, fanged stranger. An old man (Brian Cox) discovers the consequences of betraying the horrifying holiday – and the kids who love it. And a group of mean-spirited candy hunters find out that tricks aren’t always followed by treats.
TRICK OR TREAT?: It can be a trick – if you’re under 13, alone or find Dylan Baker totally creepy. But it will be a real sweet cinematic treat if you like a few darkly funny scares – and a side of Sookie Stackhouse – with your candy.
WHY IT GETS US IN THE SPIRIT: If you’re a horror fangirl like us, it’s basically the cinematic equivalent of the ultimate mini-chocolate gorge. Not only is it one of the most blatantly Halloween-themed horror flicks to come out in years, it delivers the genuinely goretastic goods – and then some. Each of the four uniquely creepy (and campy!) stories takes place at a different point of Devil’s Night and brings its own, actually-surprising ending, which is more than you can say for most big-screen scares these days. After seeing it with an over-packed, overexcited house at the 2009 Toronto After Dark Festival, I’m still trying to figure out how it got shafted to the straight-to-DVD bargain bin.
SCENE TO DIE FOR: The “Halloween School Bus Massacre” back story. It’s both devastating and devastatingly creepy – and destined to be your favourite story of the (almost) uniformly awesome bunch.
BEST COSTUME: Dylan Baker’s “principal” costume. It’s so damn convincing, it fools a poor fat kid into not only thinking he should take candy from him, but also that he should eat it right away – without checking in with Mommy first. Big. Mistake. Runner-up: Sam’s demented pumpkin patch demon ensemble.
SUGGESTED SWEET: Reese’s Pieces. Most Halloween-sized candies would work well with this instant classic, but these bit-sized samples of the infamous ode to peanut-butter chocolate goodness seem most fitting. Like the Pieces, Trick r’ Treat manages to pay tribute to a classic (Halloween), while establishing it’s own brand of gotta-have-it awesomeness.