Trick is a 2019 American slasher horror that takes inspiration from Halloween and even Scream along with some serious plot liberties.
Trick was directed by Canadian producer, Patrick Lussier who was involved as an editor on a whole host of horror movies in the 90’s and 2000’s such as Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, Scream, Scream 2 and 3 and The Eye. He co-wrote and produced 2015’s Terminator Genisys and directed White Noise: The Light, My Bloody Valentine 3D and of course, Trick, to name just few.
We start of in 2015 in Benton, New York. High school senior Patrick “Trick” Weaver (Thom Nieman)is playing spin the bottle at a Halloween party using a knife with “TRICK” and “TREAT” carved into opposite sides of the handle when it lands on another boy. The other players tease Trick, telling him to kiss the other boy. Trick grabs the knife and stabs five teens to death before being stabbed with a fire poker. At the hospital, Trick manages to escape custody, take out a few doctors before he is shot multiple times, falling out of a window to his death.
Or maybe not. There is no body on the ground when the cops reach that level and a trail of blood leads to a cold lake. Here, the cops decide not to bother looking any further and take the assumption that Trick is dead, probably of pneumonia, if not blood loss. That is some seriously questionable police work right there. Before time moves on, we do also find out that Trick’s two sided pumpkin mask has disappeared from evidence. So, no body and no mask but it’s all good. Case closed.
We move forward in time, Halloween by Halloween, as someobody or something appears wearing make up and/or Trick’s mask, causing unimaginable carnage at different Halloween events. Trick is now famous and has website and cult following dedicated to him. In 2016, he takes out a load of teachers and students at a High School Halloween dance. In 2017, more bodies turn up at a Halloween party. You get the gist. It’s a little Michael Myers I guess with the apparently death proof Trick reappearing each Halloween to go on a little spree. I guess it is also a little Scream in that we have a masked unknown stabbing people but, well, apparently Trick died right? Or did he? And that there is the question that runs throughout the whole film. Who is the killer?
Only one person seems to think Trick is still alive and that is original investigating officer, Mike Denver (Omar Epps). He is tracking the cases and trying to prove Trick is still alive though mostly faces ridicule in return. Denver believes he can predict where killings will happen next. He reaches out to a couple of local detectives just before Halloween 2018 to warn them, gets mocked and this is really a turning point in the film as the cycle gets broken and Trick starts killing outside of Halloween (okay, only by a day but still). Trick brazenly takes out both cops that are with Denver in the bathroom of their meeting place.
Fast forward to the movies present day of 30th October 2019. Denver has left the police force and is trying to find his way while still following Trick. Still nobody else believes Trick could possibly still be alive though. Denver gets pulled back into the case when a body turns up and the wall is painted in blood with Denver’s name and a little picture of the pumpkin mask. Events really kick off now with Trick (or whoever it is) starting to almost clean house. He uses trickery to lure police officers into remote areas before brutally destroying them but throughout it all, it just seems so odd that he is always multiple steps ahead of the police force.
As Halloween approaches, we have multiple encounters with the masked character who may be Trick that give him a more supernatural feel. From his face appearing on a switched off TV screen in hospital to him being chased through a graveyard and seeming to move at hyper sppeed, ducking behind a gravestone and reappearing much further along. It makes you wonder if Trick is some sort of Michael Myers.
As a final Halloween party takes place, with a haunted maze and also with a few survivors from the first massacre, Trick appears and starts dispatching people. The police force finally seem to believe he may be alive still as we head into a race against time. Trick is taking people out at speed and Denver is desperate to stop him leading to a huge showdown and an answer to the question, who is Trick, or, more importantly, how many Tricks are there?
If nothing else, that is one thing the movie does really well is it keeps you guessing and had me stuck between theories for a long time though I did clock it before the end. Was he a ghost or demon? Perhaps he is Denver, but in a mentally psychotic state? Was he just a copycat each year from his fan club? Eventually this gets answered by there just being loads of him, all people from the local area. The cops who arrested him, the doctors who treated him – Trick is everywhere really and that helps to explain some of the things in the movie that offer confusion throughout.
There are plenty of issues though too. I felt there were real liberties taken with the story to make sure we were left guessing. I don’t care how many Trick’s there are, or that the original is good with computers in the hospital, he still managed to project his face onto a switched off, 70’s looking television. That makes you think he is demonic and is probably put in to throw you off the truth but it makes no sense and is technologically impossible unless he is otherworldly. As for the victims and the non Trick cops, my god they are useless. For the most part, they seem to walk aimlessly into Trick’s knife, rarely even throwing a gentle slap in defence. We have some big cops, some well trained professionals and even some football jocks and they all just fall, one after the other without ever fighting back.
The biggest issue I had through is why? Why does Trick, a guy who killed 5 kids, have a cult following? Or why did some of the cops of the small suburb where the kids died join him, or the doctors even. Now they do try to give an explanation for the why but it is weak and seems like an after thought. It essentially amounts to “um, cos we can, or, um, also, there is always evil in the world, and um, kids need to fear stuff, but, um, yeah, also we can”.
But, it isn’t a bad film, despite some glaringly obvious mis steps. The acting is pretty good. The backing atmospheric score adds lots of tension to the film. I like the camera shots too with plenty of close up work and some great sets with typical Halloween imagery. It is fast paced, fun to watch and the deaths are pretty gory with some “Saw” like contraptions put to good use. As I said above, I enjoyed trying to work out what was going on and who was killing who. It just needed a bit more of a back story to satisfy the reason why to turn it from a good film into a great one.
The Final Score - 6/10