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TOP 100 MOVIES in 2008!
It is said that Halloween is the night when the dead rise to walk among us and other unspeakable things roam free. The rituals of All Hallows Eve were devised to protect us from their evil mischief, and one small town is about to be taught a terrifying lesson that some traditions are best not forgotten. Nothing is what it seems when a suburban couple learns the dangers of blowing out a Jack-o-Lantern before midnight; four women cross paths with a costumed stalker at a local festival; a group of pranksters goes too far and discovers the horrifying truth buried in a local legend; and a cantankerous old hermit is visited by a strange trick-or-treater with a few bones to pick. Costumes and candy, ghouls and goblins, monsters and mayhem…the tricks and treats of Halloween turn deadly as strange creatures of every variety—human and otherwise—try to survive the scariest night of the year.
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OSCAR winner for Best Costume Design
Thank You God. That’s all I have to say. With modern horror films these days, let’s face it…they suck. It’s the same old garbage in a new jack-o-lantern bucket. But not this time. Trick ‘r Treat delivers both it’s titles. There are twists and turns, fun little nods and in-jokes and some of the best writing I’ve ever seen for a horror film. Granted, the film isn’t perfect, but it was what I was waiting for over 3 years for. I was not let down.
The Story: The film is made up of several stories that intertwine and overlap as the film progresses with one character, Sam, a child like demon running through them all. I really don’t want to get into the meat and potatoes of each story, but I will offer what is my only nitpick of the film. The short stories are too short. While most of the film, novice film makers expand upon their ideas with great enthusiasm and bore the rest of us, this film cuts right to the chase. The bad part is, I would love to stay in this world even longer with some more set up. To the film’s credit, each story builds upon one, or several of the previous ones and thus, grow a bit longer in length. I have to offer up that the one I assumed I would dislike the most, the little red riding hood story, ended up being my favorite and absolutely blowing my mind once it reached the end. But on the other hand, Brian Cox running around his house chasing a demon with shot gun in hand is also a capable finale. In short – I’m praying if the film makers make a sequel that it’ll be a long film. I could have sat here for 2 and ½ hours and loved every minute of it.
Acting: Excellent all around. Obviously the heavyweight actors know what they’re doing but I was surprised to see how well several of the child actors did with the material. Sans a couple of obvious ADR moments, I was completely encapsulated in their stories through their acting (In my opinion, I have a brilliant ear for ADR and it always breaks a moment for me.)
Directing: For his first time out, Michael Dougherty hits the money right on target. I have to take this time as a horror fan to extend a thank you to him for making this film and fighting a long hard battle to get it out there to us, the true horror fans of this day and age. He has proved that you don’t have to make SAW XXVII to make a Halloween film that people will want to see again and again.
Cinematography: Now, while I have a difference of opinion on how to shoot horror films, I will offer up that this film does take some of the very ideas I plan on using one day myself. I love horror films with long takes and “easter eggs” in the background. I also love when things aren’t pointed out to the audience and kept out of focus in the background. It works so well. The color scheme also keeps the mood of Halloween going throughout and is such an obvious way to show a horror film, I’m surprised it hasn’t been done already. But it works, and works gloriously.
Editing: Now here is what I thought “saved the film.” Granted, the film didn’t need to be “saved” but the editing was a major part in what makes the film work. If the editing hadn’t worked, the film would have fallen apart. Now in addition to my previous nitpick, I would offer up one more. I mentioned how the films stories overlap on occasion. I love how it re-shows the same scene again. What I didn’t like was how it would use the same point of view for a few shots again. If I’m going to see it again, show me it in a different way. And they did for the most part, but there were a few shots that were the same that I don’t know if blame falls in part on the production crew for not covering it, or an editing choice, but the way this film is made, I have to assume that everything was planned out well in advance. So I blame the editing / cinematography together I guess.
Score: Fantastic. I mean, overall, the main beats of the score are the same old high tension strings, but there was a new twist on the chorus of girls going “ahhh ahhh” that you seem to hear in every Danny Elfman score. It was dreary and desolate. Like death was upon you. It really lent its strength to the film and was kinda catchy too. Not John Carptenter Halloween catchy, but still pretty good.
Special Effects: Like I said previously, old school. And it works great. It’s never cheesy or takes you out of the film. The way special effects are supposed to work.
In closing: Trick ‘r Treat is a fantastic horror movie meant specifically for Halloween and us nerds with a sense of despise for people who take is a joke or an excuse to dress up in a slutty costume. It’s also for us old school horror fans who love to see puppets over CGI and like to see conventions being toyed with or just being done effectively. I don’t believe this movie was made to be a cash cow. It was made to be entertainment and horror with great storytelling. Something to have fun and get you in the Halloween mood. And it succeeds gloriously. The only thing it doesn’t give you is enough to be satisfied forever. So, eh hem……I’m begging for another one. Come on Michael Daugherty, you got DVD release once (and kicking ass I may add) you can do it again. This type of filmmaking is worth it.
Once again, from the bottom of this horror fan’s heart – Thank you.