Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trick 'r Treat (2007)

Trick 'r Treat is a nice period piece - not historical period, but seasonal period. It, like not enough films do, perfectly captures the atmosphere of Halloween. Indeed, the enthusiasm with which the town in this film celebrates Halloween makes me jealous that my own town isn't as dedicated to what is my favorite holiday of the year.

Trick 'r Treat is fun, and clever, and also scary. But what really sets it apart is its narrative structure, which has been compared to Pulp Fiction, in that it depicts several different stories involving different characters, occurring more or less simultaneously, all within the same locality, that often overlap. And in trying to capture the Halloween atmosphere, it provides us with a nice hodgepodge of thematic elements that serves as much to honor the spirit of Halloween as to revel in it.

And the greatest element of the story is its reverence of Halloween. The film opens with a Halloween-hater getting her comeuppance at the hands of an unidentified killer - and all I could say in spite of myself was, "this bitch totally has it coming." The rest of the film spends a lot of time showing the gruesome ways in which those who disrespect the holiday, and opt out of honoring Halloween's traditions (it is, as one character rightly explains, a holiday that predates Christianity), are punished, often by a mysterious sack-headed costumer no larger than a child (I suppose we are, ultimately, led to believe that he embodies the very spirit of Halloween).

I have to say, I might not rate Trick 'r Treat as one of the greatest movies I've ever seen, but as a Halloween movie, it absolutely delivers. It captures the spirit of the holiday, and to those of us who love horror and think Halloween is the greatest time of year, it's like a good friend who's there to pat us on the back when everyone around us is complaining about how much they hate Halloween. It's got vampires, and werewolves (hands down, the sexiest werewolf transformation I've ever seen), and ghosts, and serial killers, and zombies. There are Halloween parades and parties, and kids in costumes going door to door. Candy and jack-o-lanterns and Halloween lore. And scares galore!

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