Director: Michael Dougherty
Distributor: Warner Bros Pictures
Film Rating: 15
Dylan Baker as Principal Steven Wilkins
Anna Paquin as Laurie
Brian Cox as Mr. Kreeg
Gerald Paetz as Young Kreeg
Quinn Lord as Sam/Peeping Tommy
Review ** Spoiler Alert **
Director Michael Dougherty, who brought you the 2015 horror-comedy Krampus and 2019’s action epic Godzilla: King of the Monsters, brings you this tale of five stories that eventually entwine all throughout the spooky night of the year called Halloween.
The opening titles of Trick ‘R’ Treat highlight the horrors to come, showing glimpses of each story in a comic book style. Combined with the music, this helps set the tone for the entire film as the creepy aesthetic mixes with the haunting melodies before settling into the beginning of the stories themselves.
Firstly, we are introduced to a woman called Emma who absolutely loathes Halloween; she has to support the holiday for her husband called Henry, you can see the tension and how she just has to please her husband, this is done in a comedic way, but when she blows out the candles and mocks the holiday she doesn’t realise she has been watched the whole time, this entity is Sam his dressed in what I can describe is a scarecrow’s outfit. Sam is not happy with his favourite season being mocked and takes revenge on Emma using his sharp lollipop stick while the wife is tidying away the Halloween decorations. Henry is entirely oblivious to this has while he’s waiting for Emma he is watching porn. Eventually, Henry goes out and finds Emma’s head been put on a pole underneath a sheet, with the lollipop gagged in Emma’s mouth. Very well placed, I thought, after she’s been whining about the holiday.
Next, you meet Principal Steven Wilkins, who is speaking to an older child after he smashed all of the principal’s pumpkins and telling him there are rules for Halloween that must be followed. He got his revenge by giving the child some sweets, which the child didn’t realise are poisoned with cyanide. This made him violently sick, and with this, the child died. He had a pit already made in his back garden which before he got thrown into the hole, cut off the boy’s head to be made into a pumpkin lantern for later. In the rush to bury the child’s body, the principal is disturbed by the next-door neighbour’s dog, his son called Billy, and another character named Mr Kreeg (who appears from the other stories,) enquiring about what the principal is doing. The principal saying it’s a Halloween decoration wished Mr Kreegs a happy Halloween, he shrugged it off and went back inside, where within a few minutes later he’s trying to get the principal’s attention, due to being attacked by Sam. The principal is oblivious and went back into the house to continue making his homemade lantern.
Next is the Halloween School Bus Massacre story. First, you are introduced to Macy, Sara, Chip, and Schrader and then Rhonda who loves Halloween; she knows the rules and history behind this spooky holiday. They all walk to the quarry with a trolley full of pumpkins, eight this is where they tell you the story of the urban legend which is the Halloween bus massacre, this was eight children were on the way home and the driver, who is paid by the parents of these children, to kill them using poisoned sweets. One of the children who wanted to go back home resisted the sweet, got anxious, and tried to drive the bus which caused the crash, the driver who turns out, to be Mr Kreegs is the only survivor of this tragedy. Once the story is finished, the children took the pumpkins as an offering and tribute for the eight children where the children made a cruel practical joke on Rhonda, pretending to be the dead children and chased her. Terrified, Rhonda is comforted and defended by Schrader, this made Macy jealous and in a rage kicked a pumpkin into the lake which you find ruins of the school bus, this made the actual dead children rise and chase after the children, Rhonda got the elevator that goes down to the quarry and leaves them all to die, including Schrader. While Rhonda is coming up, you can hear the screams and the dead children laughing, this adds to the atmosphere and builds the tension brilliantly. Rhonda sees Sam and with respect nods to him, where Sam walks into a different direction. I think this has apprised Sam and Rhonda is a Halloween enthusiast.
Next, the surprise party. Laurie is the main character in this story alongside her sister Danielle, and her friends Maria and Janet. They are all on the lookout for dates. Danielle, Maria, and Janet find their partners and go on ahead to the party while Laurie is trying to find the perfect date as she wants her “first time” to be unique, Laurie is then attacked by a hooded serial killer dressed as a hooded vampire. The others arrived at the party in the woods with a bonfire in a clearing, Laurie’s sister starts to begin to worry about her. Still, in this time the serial killer is falling from the trees severely injured, Laurie appears out of nowhere and very confident. One of the friends unmasks the serial killer, who was the principal this whole time. Laurie and all the friends start dancing around the bonfire, and transform into werewolves as they begin to devour their dates and Laurie’s first time is killing the principal.
Now back to Sam. He was attacking Mr Kreegs earlier, as he didn’t have any Halloween decorations or Halloween spirit, Sam broke into Mr Kreeg’s house and started to decorate and make it spooky. The reason Mr. Kreegs got attacked is that he unmasked Sam, who is a demonic pumpkin child. There is another attacking where Sam is trying to kill him using his sharp lollipop, but a chocolate bar fell in his lap, and with this Sam is satisfied that Mr. Kreegs is offering sweets, Sam takes leave confusing Mr Kreegs. After this, you see him destroying photos of the eight children, having mentioned previously he was the driver of the Halloween bus massacre. In this time, children are trick and treating, and he hands out sweets children to the children where Sam in the distance gave him a nod of appreciation. Mr Kreegs go back to the house, and there is another knock on the door. The eight dead children are standing there silently. The eight children attack him and kill him. More information on Sam. The director first developed him has a short film called “Seasons Greetings,” which I recommend watching only as it’s only around 3 minutes in length. Still, you can see how Michael got his inspiration to continue into a movie. Also, I found out this is a bonus feature on the DVD, or you can check it out on YouTube.
The ending is where you see the previous stories joining together and coming to ahead. In the scene where Mr Kreeg is handing out sweets and Sam is observing his surroundings, you will see Rhonda pulling her pumpkin cart along, Laurie being dropped off by her sisters and friends, the principal’s son handing out sweets and generally having fun. Then Sam noticed Emma blowing out the pumpkin, so he goes off and makes the killing, and Mr. Kreeg gets attacked by the eight dead children. So basically, you must follow the rules of Halloween and if you don’t, you will get a visit from Sam. This film is definitely a Michael Dougherty film. If you look at the cinematic production it is comedic, bloody, and dark, which I love. It’s just like his other work, e.g. “Krampus”, which is another excellent horror work of his.
There are many references from other movies in this film; either as a line or an actual object or prop within the film. I wonder when you have watched this film if you’ve managed to spot them all?
The only one I will give you, is in one of the scenes which are the ‘Halloween Bus Massacre’, the car from the film “Christine” is parked up on the side of the road, but this is very quick; a real ‘blink-and-you’ll-miss-it’ moment.
Do I recommend this film? Yes, yes, I do!
This film is so good and gripped me from start to finish, with all that was going on, and any horror fan will appreciate this. It should be recognised like other horror classics, and I hope this review gives it the credit it truly deserves. I hope, also that there have been talks and discussions about another ‘Trick r Treat’ in the works which I do hope this is true. Thank you for reading this ‘spooky’ review.