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TRICK ‘R TREAT (2008) *** ½

Anthology horror movies have been pretty scarce nowadays but director Michael (the guy who wrote X-Men 2) Dougherty tries to shake things up with Trick ‘R Treat.  Since Hollywood won’t touch anthology horror flicks (the fact that this had to go straight to DVD reinforces that), Dougherty tried to disguise it by having all the stories interlock a la Pulp Fiction.  The results are some of the best horror anthologizing you’ve seen since Night Train to Terror.

 

Basically what we have is a whole bunch of weirdness happening in a small town over the course of Halloween night.  One psycho principal (Dylan Baker) poisons a kid’s candy and makes a jack o’ lantern out of his decapitated head.  Later, he becomes a vampire and drinks some chick’s blood before getting turned into Lycanthrope Chow by a virgin werewolf (Anna Paquin).  Meanwhile, a bunch of surly trick or treaters get terrorized by some zombie Shortbusers and a crazy old man (Brian Cox) is attacked by a murderous pumpkin-headed munchkin named Sam (Quinn Lord).

 

I think what separates Trick ‘R Treat from the usual crop of horror films is it’s willingness to be nasty and mean.  More kids get mutilated and killed in this movie than any in horror history.  All of this could’ve been disastrous, but Dougherty imbues the flick with a mischievous black humor that is perfectly befitting of All Hallow’s Eve.  Dougherty effectively walks the line between horror and humor and in turn, creates one of the most original fright flicks in some time.

 

Trick ‘R Treat is not without it’s faults.  Since the film features interlocking characters and storylines, a couple of scenes are repeated.  This works to the flick’s disadvantage because some of the scares are telegraphed in advance.  Ultimately, this is a minor quibble because there are still enough surprises here to make it worthwhile.  In the era of pointless remakes and gratuitous sequels, Trick ‘R Treat is definitely a breath of fresh air.

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