Scream franchise alumni Omar Epps and Jamie Kennedy star in a horrifying Halloween slasher that proves more trick than treat.
Patrick Lussier’s Trick follows the headstrong Detective Mike Denver (Epps) hellbent on hunting down an elusive serial killer responsible for a spate of grisly murders committed over the Halloween season. Placing his life on the line, Denver is beyond determined to catch the killer, but is he set to uncover more than he ever bargained for the deeper he gets into the investigation?
While Trick displays potential in its ideas, its problem is that it relies too heavily on paying homage to the great heyday of slasher movies rather than running with originality. One of the earlier shots of the movie pans up to a creepy house on Halloween night with a sense of foreboding leaving no prizes for guessing what film its referencing. The horror market is inundated with Halloween (1978) knockoff’s and while there’s nothing wrong with paying respects to an influential and iconic movie it just feels overdone, its high time fans were treated to something new.
Trick comes across as a combination of Halloween meets Saw with the titular killer giving Michael Myers a run for his money and its penchant for over the top, gore-fuelled set pieces. Lead character, Denver is a modern-day Dr Loomis as he endeavours to save his small-town from the pure evil slashing its way through the teenage population. The film is extremely formulaic, leaving no surprises, it comes across as painfully obvious on who will get carved up next! Some interesting ideas formulate in its climax and reveal but they’re so underdeveloped it leaves the whole piece feeling rather hollow.
Omar Epps delivers a watchable performance as Denver; he offers a sense of likability within the character allowing the audience to root for him in his quest to expose Trick and bring him down once and for all. He is the saving grace of the film as
his character arc is engaging enough, he’s the reliable hero that the rest of the characters don’t heed the warnings of and as predicted it doesn’t end well for most of them.
Another of the film’s highlights is the appearance of the legendary Tom Atkins in a small role as the suspicious diner owner and watchful eye over the community. As expected in a film centring on Halloween and masks, he supplies a tongue-in-cheek reference to his cult classic, Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982). Jamie Kennedy of Scream fame plays a small part as Doctor Steven. It’s a shame he isn’t utilized in the film as much as he should be, especially once more is revealed about his character. Again, he is a casualty of being criminally underdeveloped.
The film culminates in an inventive set piece, set in a scare maze scenario, which intensifies the suspense as unbeknown to them, the victims are surrounded by pretend masked maniacs and of course the omnipresent slasher. This marks the films strongest sequence as it elevates the suspense threshold which makes for a thrilling climax.
Trick incorporates some imaginative cinematography, comprising of stunning aerial shots that evokes a sense of familiarity for the viewer of the small-town setting, bringing in a real sense of place. It’s aesthetically reminiscent of 1970’s and 80’s horror movies, allowing for a nostalgic vibe with a modern slant. The editing is slick and fast paced especially in the chase and death scenes.
On the most part, Trick is an entertaining, popcorn slasher movie with its bloody beating heart in the right place, less blatant nods to the movies that came before it and more story/character development would have made a significant improvement. The ending does allude to a sequel and if this is the case perhaps a second instalment would allow the film to come into its own.
While Trick won’t reach the heights of a Halloween classic, it’s a harmless, fun ride that’s slashing its way onto Digital Download very soon!