Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Here’s one thing I’ve learned from my limited time on the planet earth. If a woman who is two or three levels above my pay grade is hitting on me… this will lead to nothing but trouble. Or death. Or worse. I know this for a fact. Most men get into trouble with this one because they are oblivious to what there pay grade is, with most grossly over estimating where their theoretical pay grades are actually slotted. Know your pay grade gentlemen and thus you stay out of trouble. This public service announcement was brought to you by Dudes who make it a Point to Look Gift Horses in the Mouth, with this particular situation we speak of popping up in the rather cleverly done horror anthology ‘Trick ‘r Treat’.

Our film starts with Henry (Tahmoh Penikett) and his Halloween hating wife Emma (Leslie Bibb) coming home from some Halloween party in their nowhere Ohio town with Emma running into a little of bit of trouble whilst taking down the decorations. But that’s the end of the story. The actual film starts a little earlier at this city-wide Halloween party and features four tightly integrated stories in which Henry and Emma only figure into lightly.

The first story features three insanely beautiful women… and Anna Paquin… just joking Anna Paquin fans… Nothing but love ‘True Blood’. Anyway these ladies are in from out of town because Anna Paquin’s character of Laurie needs her cherry popped or something. Apparently it’s just easier to get this done in small out of the way towns where people don’t know you, and while the other three hotties are there waiting for Lurie to finish her first time, they might as well find some dates of their own and get buck wild. Remember what I told you earlier. You see I know that actress Rochelle Aytes, one of our three drop dead hotties in this segment, is waaaay above my pay grade, and please recognize because of my powerful game in addition to everything else I bring to the table that my pay grade is pretty damn high so that’s saying something. Nothing but trouble I tell you.

Back to the movie, we also have Steve (Dylan Baker), the high school principle who apparently has a little secret he likes to keep in his back yard. Principle Steve has all kinds of little secrets that he will share with us in this movie, secrets that will seriously challenge his hopes of getting that ‘educator of the year’ award.

Another story features a group of tweens who are on a scavenger hunt which leads to one particularly mean spirited individual of the bunch telling one of those freaky ‘ghost stories’ while overlooking where a horrible accident took place back in the day. From what follows it would seem to me that our kids have probably watched the movie ‘Carrie’ one too many times. Alas if only one of them had watched that movie all the way to the end.

Finally there is Principle Steve’s crusty old neighbor Mr. Kreeg (Bryan Cox). Apparently Mr. Kreeg is the equivalent of the Grinch of Halloween which, in keeping with the Christmas theme, will get him a visit from the ghost of Halloween Past. Mind you this little man has been hanging out in his freaky burlap sap mask the whole movie but he really doesn’t get involved until he pays Mr. Kreeg a special visit, which will bring us right back where we started.

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it at least twice in that I do not understand the business of movies. It is well known in horror circles that Warner Brothers sat this movie on a shelf for a couple of years despite the fact it was shown in various Fright Fests and the like to rousing SRO crowds. It matters very little what I personally think about this movie ‘Trick ‘r Treat’, a movie that I found to have a fine tuned, cleverly constructed narrative, looked as pretty as brand new money on my projected screen and was solidly entertaining from start to finish… if not all that scary or frightening. What matters is why didn’t Warner Brothers give horror fans what they wanted and make themselves some money in the process with a theatrical release? Now I’m the biggest defender in the world of Straight to Video movies and it’s good for me that ‘Trick ‘r Treat’ went the STV route but I always thought the main goal of show ‘business’ was to make as much money as humanly possible.

Let’s play amateur film executive for minute. I go into my bosses office at the WB and tell the man I got this movie, it’s finished, the fans at the test screenings love it… I think we might have some franchise potential with this one Mr. Bossman. I mean this movie has ‘franchise’ written all over it. Bossman thinks for a while… then says ‘no, let’s play it real safe and remake ‘Friday the 13th’ and re-franchise the shit out of that tired piece of garbage. They’ll go see it. Trust me. And he’s probably right. Which is why I’m not a movie executive and they are.

Regardless ‘Trick ‘r Treat’ is a fine film that’s a good watch, and while it might not be quite as good as I had heard, it’s still plenty entertaining. I just wish movie execs cared about you sick horror film fans the way that I care about you.

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