Burying a dead kid’s body on Halloween is nearly impossible these days. There are far too many distractions. First, the victim pukes blood all over you after eating the poisoned candy you gave them. Then, the neighbor’s dog wants a piece of the body. Suddenly, your own kid needs help cutting a pumpkin. As if that wasn’t enough, one of the kids you’re trying to bury isn’t actually dead, making so much noise they draw the attention of the neighbors.
What is this world coming too when you can’t even bury a murder victim in your own backyard? Sheesh.
Dylan Baker plays Steven, that demented grave digger discussed above, killing for no other reason than the joy of sharing the dead kid’s head with his own son. No, Trick ‘r Treat is not a film of good cheer, happy outcomes, or any level of sanity, but it is funny in a sick, twisted manner.
Trick ‘r Treat is written and directed by Michael Dougherty who has written a wonderfully horrific anthology of four main stories that flawlessly blend together into a cohesive whole. The string of tales kick off with the murderous Steven, finishing on a wildly fun action sequence in which Brian Cox fends off a small… thing with a potato sack costume. Brian Cox’s Mr. Kreeg is hacked, stabbed, broken, and tossed, but keeps up the good fight.
One of the middle stories concerns the legend of a school bus, where the driver took bribes from the parents of handicap children who were sick of caring for them. He was then to drive them off a cliff into a rock quarry, where the bus still sits 30 years later, although the plan did not work as intended. Suspicious kids go to pay a memorial, and things quickly spiral out of control.
The latter is the oddball story out, lacking any real comedic edge, aiming straight for horror, and existing to add an additional punch to the final frame. It is not as if the audience was already terrified enough not to go to Warren Valley Ohio on Halloween, given its population is comprised of psychopathic fathers, werewolves, people pretending to be vampires, and zombie children. That’s plenty to kill tourism. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Movie]
Shot mostly at night, Trick ‘r Treat lacks the high fidelity detail expected of modern hi-def transfers. The VC-1 encode is clean, delivering decent depth with its blacks, bold primaries, and excellent flesh tones. Sharpness is fine if unspectacular, and the film grain shows few problems.
Some aliasing is evident briefly during the opening credits, and thankfully never seen again. It is that nagging lack of texture that irritates, with flat faces dominating the film. This is not a bad transfer, but overall fails to generate any memorable moments. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Video]
A TrueHD mix is surprisingly robust, including an expansive front soundstage from the opening shot of a car passing through the frame. Positional dialogue, various cues, and action scenes all use the sides effortlessly.
The rear channels are nicely engaged, and who hasn’t wanted to have their home theater capture the intricacies of projectile vomit as it moves front to back? The rock quarry is a fantastic sequence, featuring spinning voices, echoes, and a crisp musical cue. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Audio]
A commentary from writer/director Michael Dougherty, concept artist Breehn Burns, storyboard artist Simeon Wilkins, and composer Douglas Pipes offers a well-rounded discussion of the film. Trick ‘r Treat: The Legends and Lore of Halloween runs for 27 minutes, detailing the film’s efforts to show the origins of Halloween based on the events that inspired it.
Sixteen minutes of deleted scenes offer a solo commentary from Dougherty, along with the animated short Dougherty directed back in 1996 called Season’s Greetings. A brief visual effects breakdown of the school bus incident is then followed by generic BD-Live support. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Extras]
Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us by Warner Bros. This has not affected the editorial process. For more information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.