Underrated Movie of the Week: Trick ‘r Treat

Underrated Movie of the Week: Trick ‘r Treat

It’s a little too easy to underrate a horror movie since there are so many of them and the desire of the fans tends to vary from one year to the next. If you’ll recall there was a time when Nightmare on Elm Street was one of the scariest movies around, but as of now people might still be afraid of Freddy Krueger but they’re still able to laugh at him as well given how the sequels turned out and how his legend seemed to evolve and made him a trickster. Even fiends such as Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers have been turned into comical memes and jokes throughout the years after the initial fear wears off. Stephan Adams of The Telegraph can back this up with a few well-placed points that are well-taken and made. The point is that eventually people stop taking horror seriously and just want to have fun with it since it’s easier to laugh at something that horrifies you then let it traumatize you and create a level of fear that turns into paranoia. That’s where Trick ‘r Treat works beautifully since it does get fairly campy throughout the movie and while a lot of what’s included within the various tales is meant to be deadly it’s still engaging enough to make a person smile and even laugh in disbelief.

If you want shock value then the Saw movies might be your best bet, but if you want horror and a dark sense of humor, and I’m sure Kristy Puchko of CinemaBlend would agree, Trick ‘r Treat is the kind of movie you might want to watch since despite the overlying horror aspect there is something satisfying and even amusing about the revenge that some of the characters get and how the many different scenes eventually flow into one another. Using the beginning scene as the ending is actually very effective as it brings everything full circle shortly before topping it all off with a suggestion of payback that’s punctuated by the sounds of flesh being torn and the final antagonist being given his just desserts. In fact it’s actually pretty funny to think that up until the end one of the worst people in the movie might actually get away with his life, but nope, there’s no hope for pretty much anyone in this movie that’s not somehow capable of satisfying the childlike Sam and his need to observe the Halloween traditions that he sees as ultimately important.

The tales in this movie are fashioned in a nonlinear manner which makes it hard to follow if you simply wade into it during the middle of a story, but all the same it’s fun to see the characters interacting throughout the movie in one way or another. Plus there are some interesting visuals that some people might see as lowbrow but others might find some interest in. Werewolves literally slipping out of their human skin for instance is something that seems pretty sexual considering that it’s a group of young women doing this, but it becomes absolutely horrific when they start peeling off flesh. Undead children rising from their watery grave after a jack o’ lantern is kicked into the quarry is an eerie touch, especially since the kids that did this were guilty of scaring the living hell out of a mentally disabled girl that was invited to join their group as a prank. Of course she did manage to leave them at the bottom of the quarry to be ripped apart by the ghouls as she made her way home, so there’s another point in the favor of this movie as payback is….well, you know.

Wilkins, played by Dylan Baker, is perhaps one of the most pervasive characters in the story since he’s one of the main antagonists that not only poisons candy and chops off a kids head to make it into a jack o’ lantern with his son, but he also makes the fatal mistake of attacking Laurie, played by Anna Paquin, as he has no idea what she truly is. His death is one of the most satisfying since he’s the type of villain that thinks he can get away with just about anything, and he does really up until he picks the wrong woman to mess with. The fact that he’s Laurie’s ‘first’ is even better as it becomes more of a joke and a rite of passage. In a big way this movie is all about revenge in one way or another, which is a perfect theme for many a Halloween movie since the idea of evil being let loose during this season has become a big part of pop culture and has driven many a movie and series to feature the most grisly type of payback  imaginable. Jim Vorel of Paste is correct in saying that this movie was almost considered a failure, but it eventually started winning people over with its clever storytelling. This movie might not get all that gory, but it definitely suggests more than it shows and it’s kind of a pleasure to see and hear the implications without having to see every last little detail. Sometimes you don’t need the buckets of blood to understand the horror of it all.

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