Friday, October 30, 2009
31 Days of Halloween - Day 30 - Movie
After an amazing, highly promising trailer, two years of waiting, and nearly a month of having the DVD in my possession but holding off until the end of the month, I finally got to watch "Trick R Treat" (2007). This highly anticipated anthology movie weaves together four stories and a prologue all set in the same town on the same Halloween night. The stories involve a killer school teacher, a prank gone wrong, a young woman looking for a date to a Halloween party, and a cranky old hermit's encounter with Halloween incarnated in the form of a creepy trick-or-treater.
I can't think of a movie that embraces all of the trappings of Halloween to the level that this one does. It's like an R-Rated "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown." Practically every frame is filled with jack o'lanterns, trick or treaters, costumes, masks, candy, orange, black, and Autumn leaves. You can practically feel the chill in the air and smell the smoke of fireplaces being lit for the first time since the previous winter. Anyone who loves the holiday will wish their town celebrated Halloween like the town in this movie does.
The movie itself though is pretty uneven. The prologue is not really much of a story and it's incredibly predictable. The story of the teacher has it's moments, but is too scattershot a narrative and not overall a satisfying tale. The one involving the prank is probably the most satisfying story in the movie. The one about the girl looking for a date is also pretty weak and has a predictable ending. The final story with the goblin trick-or-treater is probably the second best story and ties into the prank story as well. I think that going the traditional anthology route and separating the narratives, rather than intertwining them would have made for a more satisfying movie. The narratives don't line up very well intercut together and jump all over time, something not helped by the comic book captions which either read "earlier" or "later." It feels like way too much is going on at once, and stretches the credibility of the movie by having all of these various ill-fated Halloween stories happening all in the same town on the same night, (and of course with no consequences on the following day). There's also periodic flashes of comic book imagery, like Creepshow, but with no point whatsoever, since comic books have no relevance to the movie itself, even as a wrap around element.
I could nitpick other things, such as the tale about a school bus within the prank story, which defies logic. There's no way anyone could have known what happened on that day, since no one lived to talk about it. I was also distracted by how much the pumpkin goblin character looked like Michael Jackson. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the movie. I just don't think this is the be all, end all of Halloween movies. I also liked the trailer better, which surprisingly is not included on this incredibly bare bones DVD release.