Tuesday, January 11, 2011

"Trick 'r Treat"(2007)d/Michael Dougherty

So, I avoided all prior posi-hub-bub about tonight's review on the interwebs,
as per usual, and threw it on the emergent pile of "to see" flicks delicately balanced on the sculpted head of my Beethoven bust next to the comp; a future screening somewhere in the cards, but nothing I was hastening to see anytime soon.I'm usually wary of anything that generates a huge buzz before I get to check it out for myself,and usually,I'm justifed in avoiding it like that plate of beets my mother never got me to even so much as stick a fork in at the dinner table.Firstly, I'm a finicky guy with selective tastes here in the autumn of my summer years, and secondly, I've always enjoyed the feeling of discovering good movies quite accidentally, on my own.Being the movie guy is rarely what you'd think it is.When somebody does suggest a movie that I end up liking, that'll be their ice breaker for the next twenty-five years when I see them in public."Hey B.W.! Remember "My Bodyguard"(1979)? Remember I suggested that one to you?" "Yeah. We were ten years old, or something. Good job. Shame KISS' The Elder film plans fell through for Chris Makepeace, eh?" "Who?" "...yeah, nevermind, dude."
Well, anyway, tonight's review lives up to the hype for once.A welcome throwback to comic booky horror anthologies like Creepshow(1982), where the interwoven shorts are tied together by a sackheaded trick or treating imp named Sam,and transpire on the same Hallowe'en night.Built off of director Dougherty's earlier short effort, Season's Greetings, but plans for a theatrical release in '07 tanked, suffering the ignominious direct-to-dvd fate some two years later, instead.It's a shame, too, as this one could have definitely done some box office damage through word of mouth the way sleepers often do.As it stands, it's bound to become required annual October viewing for any genrehounds looking for a goodly portion of sinister seasonal scares at the bottom of their treat bags that may or may not require an x-ray for good measure beforehand.Onward!
If there was any kind of justice in the world, that'd be Seth Rogen's head there.
After the female half of a young couple gets her head removed for blowing out a jack o'lantern too early, Charlie(Brett Kelly),a rotund neighborhood downer with an afro gets caught stealing trick or treat candy from the porch of his principal(Dylan Baker),only to find that the educator has removed most of the treat from the batch, poisoning it and killing him. Wilkins inhumes the young corpse in his backyard amidst the neighborhood racket of barking dogs and nosy neighbors before retiring to his house to carve a jack o'lantern with his young son, Billy, except the festive decoration turns out to be the young fatso's severed head. "Let's make a scary face this time.", the boy says. Judging by those zits and that afro, their gruesome work is half-done already.Meanwhile, a group of prank-playing teen bullies has a whopper lined up for Rhonda(Samm Todd), the four-eyed neighborhood idiot savant, revolving around the legendary "School Bus Massacre" where embarrassed local parents paid a bus driver to drive their disturbed, abnormal kids off a cliff into a quarry many years ago, but as these things often go, Rhonda leaves the pranksters to be eighty-sixed by the waterlogged waterheads at the quarry base when one of the girls mistakenly kicks a jack o'lantern into the water, and rides the elevator back up to safety amidst the kids pleas and screams.
Load 'em on a bus just for laughs, Down a winding road stepping on the gas...
Next, a gaggle of promiscuous bubbleheads badger their reserved friend, Laurie(Anna Paquin), about her status; a twenty-two year old "virgin", but when a hooded figure drops from a tree in on the girls' fireside party in the woods, and the figure is revealed to be a bloodied and broken Principal Wilkins(who's been killing random girls with vampiric dental implants in town, by the way), the viewer can soon throw conventional virginity out the window.The girls are all werewolves who portray women of low moral fiber to snare unsuspecting horny male victims for their moonlight ritual,and this marks Laurie's first time.She peels off her human skin and joins her lupine sisters in their firelight feast.Then, Kreeg(Brian Cox),Wilkins' next-door neighbor and choleric old malcontent, is paid a visit by Sam(Quinn Lord) when he unthinkably scares away trick-or-treaters.The tiny visitor proves to be a jack o'lantern headed demon imp under his sack disguise, who terrorizes the old man, cutting and slashing his legs with an oversized pumpkin-shaped lollipop.When he stabs a candybar lying on the desperate senior citizen's chest as he tries to dial 9-1-1, he decides to sate his hunger for candy instead of vengeance, and leaves. Later, Kreeg answers the door for trick-or-treaters only to be greeted by the undead quarry kiddies, who he had snuffed years earlier as a bus driver.Comic book pages reveal his fitting fate as the credits start to roll.
Now you're gonna be face-to-face,And she'll lay right down in her favorite place.Laurie(Anna Paquin)wants to be your dog.
All these seminal punk references, where is my mind tonight, folks? Dougherty hasn't helmed anything since tonight's entry, but he has written stuff like Superman Returns and X2, as well as lowest genre denominator direct-to-video crap like Urban Legends:Bloody Mary.Plans of a sequel have been kicked around, but we'll see whether they materialize or not.You might remember Paquin as Holly Hunter's daughter in 1993's The Piano or perhaps as young Jane Eyre in the 1996 production, but most readers know her as Rogue from the X-Men movies.Dylan Baker appeared in both the Spider Man sequels and an assload of television.Brian Cox is an Emmy winner with a long and impressive list of film and television credentials that I don't feel much like citing here, as I'm jonesin' for a cigarette right now.Treat is an excellent genre anthology that'll please most viewers,and oughta stand the test of time as such.On the scale, it gets three big wops in its treat bag.Check it out.
It's my suspicion that any derision from All Hallow's tradition within Sam's(Quinn Lord) line of vision ain't a very good decision.


Ty said...

Thought this a pretty good horror movie. Really liked the practical effects.

beedubelhue said...



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