Friday, 23 October 2009

Trick 'R Treat - Dir. Michael Dougherty

Why, oh why did Warner Brothers put Michael Dougherty’s brilliant Halloween-horror-anthology 'Trick ‘R Treat' back over two years and then only release it on DVD? Talk about digging a 10-foot hole and realising you can’t get out, before accidentally releasing the pins out of the four grenades strapped around your waist and then shooting yourself in your, soon to be in a million-bits, foot with a double-barrel shotgun. Yes Warner Brothers, you made one HELL of a fatal mistake by not releasing this film sooner!

Despite the film’s minuscule running time of around eighty-minutes, opening with a brief scene in which we are introduced to the dangers of blowing a jack-o-lantern out before the end of the night, we are treated to four scary Halloween stories; a school Principle (Dylan Baker) who has a killer after-school activity; a teenager dressed as Little Red Riding Hood (Anna Paquin) who is stalked through the woods; a group of school-kids who find a local urban legend as all too real; and a irritable, grumpy old hermit (Brian Cox) who finds that some trick ‘r treaters want more than just candy. Oh and there’s Sam, a mysterious character who wears a burlap pumpkin mask and mysteriously turns up at one point during every story, and I will tell you now that under that mask isn’t the face of a warm, cuddly bunny rabbit, unfortunately...

Each story is infused with energetic performances from all the lead cast members, while instances of suspense followed by a brief splattering of dark-humour send your emotions on a hugely enjoyable rollercoaster; you’ll be cowering one minute and laughing out loud the next! However the real splendour and genius in Dougherty’s film is in the beautifully shot and composed sequences, shot by cinematographer Glen MacPherson, which bring alive the tradition of Halloween that we all remember from being a child. We don’t remember Halloween being a time about serial killer’s with an agenda, or people being mutilated for no apparent reason, but the traditions, the costumes, the customs, the legends, asking for candy and sweets, being told to watch out for the ‘bogeyman’ by your parents, and generally walking the streets dressed as something else, something horrible, something ghoulish on the one night of the year where you could literally be anybody or anything else. With the only visible flaw in my opinion being the incredibly short run-time, just as you’ve strapped yourself in and are thoroughly enjoying the ride, it ends abruptly and leaves you wanting more, much more.

It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s suspenseful, it’s scary and it is the perfect movie to watch on a dark, cold and windy all Hallows Eve night, unlike the common repetitive Hollywood-ised drudgery such as 'Saw 6'.
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