‘Trick ‘r Treat’ a great film for any season

Scott Viau

In 2007 there was a trailer released for a small Halloween-themed movie titled “Trick ‘r Treat.” Early reviews for the film were overwhelmingly positive, with some stating that it belonged on the shelf with the original “Halloween.” Yet the studio, without warning or explanation, shelved it, and for the most part, that’s where it’s been sitting until now. Finally, horror fans across the nation can judge for themselves whether or not it was worth the wait. In my opinion, it absolutely was.

“Trick” tells four interconnected stories all set on the night of Halloween in the town of Warren Valley, Ohio. To give too much information about what these stories entail would be to spoil it for the viewer, as watching each little piece of the puzzle fall into place is part of the fun. The characters include a school principal (Dylan Baker) with a disturbing secret, a woman deceptively dressed as Little Red Riding Hood (Paquin), a group of kids whose investigation of a town legend comes with unexpected results and an old, cantankerous, wheezing man (Cox) who gets more than he bargained for by not celebrating the holiday.

While all the actors here give fine performances, it’s when taken as a whole that they really begin to shine. Baker’s performance is perfectly campy and appropriate for the film. He is truly one of the most underappreciated actors around today and it’s pure joy every minute he’s on the screen. Considering the material Cox has worked with before, he probably felt he was slumming it up a bit, but his presence here is more than valued and is a welcome addition. Paquin is, surprisingly, the weakest one in the bunch, which I don’t think is necessarily her fault, but that of the film’s character development,

Only after watching the film do I now realize why this movie was shelved. I don’t think it had anything to do with competition at the box office or trying to find an audience for it. The main reason it was shelved is because the studio was more than likely worried about the backlash they would receive about the content being shown and the situations depicted, mainly those dealing with children. And this content is indeed shocking. This is a shame, though. Had the studio actually released the film to theaters I have no doubt that it would have been a huge hit.

The running time is the film’s major flaw. They say you should always leave your audience wanting more, and “Trick” does exactly that. At its current length, it’s a tightly wound top that’s spinning ferociously. It wouldn’t have bothered me to have slowed down a bit and have some of the scenes fleshed out just a bit more.

It’s the little things that make “Trick” really so great. Upon a second viewing we can see just how closely tied together these stories are, as little non sequitors suddenly add up and we realize we’ve been seeing everyone’s night blend together.

“Trick ‘r Treat” is going to be one of those films where I envy those who are viewing it for the first time. The film’s never ending twists and turns are almost always surprising.

Going into this movie I was worried that the hype wouldn’t match the outcome, but thankfully that’s not the case here. “Trick ‘r Treat” is “Pulp Fiction” meets “Creepshow,” and I would be proud to have it on my DVD shelf next to “Halloween.”