Trick is No Treat

There was a moment when I though that Trick might be up to something novel that would be worth my time. That moment passed quickly.  I’ve seen a lot of Slasher movies ( I mean, a lot) and I’ve seen a lot of police procedurals. I cannot recall ever seeing a police procedural slasher film before and that sounds like something that could be up my alley. Maybe someday someone will make that film. Trick isn't it.

Trick opens during a Highschool Halloween party. Teens in masks drink, laugh, normal teen stuff. Then Trick (the character is named Patrick, but is somehow known to everyone as Trick which seems too clever by half) starts stabbing and slashing all the kids.  It’s an ugly scene.

Trick (the killer, not Trick the movie) is wounded and captured by the police and taken to a hospital where we see him unmasked. He looks like a normal teen. He’s maybe a little too skinny, but not in a creepy way. In short order he escapes, killing a cop in the process. Then more police chase him down, shoot him a lot and he falls into a frozen river. His body vanishes and we in the audience assume that he’s pulling a Rasputin and will turn up later.

Flash forward a year to another Highschool Halloween party. Surprise! Trick is there to kill a bunch of kids and escape again.

This process will repeat. Trick will be pursued by Detective Mike Denver, played by Omar Epps.  Epps is a fine actor and he fully commits to this role. He isn’t just cashing checks; he really shows up and treats his character like a real person. That may be a mistake. This material might play a little better if he winked his way through scenery chewing. At least that would give us something funny to focus on.  

Denver works with Agent Tina Mendez, portrayed by Vanessa Aspillaga.  She has the same problem as Epps. She also thinks that she’s in a real movie. The only actors who seem to understand what this is have very small roles. The great Tom Atkins hams it up in his few brief scenes. Then there’s Jamie Kennedy as the Doctor. He mostly stands in the background and makes weird faces. I wonder if he was actively trying to get fired and failing.

It becomes a rather tired cat and mouse game, with the possibly supernatural Trick taunting Denver, and Denver being the only one who believes that the ongoing murders are being perpetrated by Trick.  It all becomes very tedious.

The camera work is bad. During the kill scenes the camera goes insane, I assume to hide the terrible FX. The image is often over lit and blown out. The sound is sketchy. Everything about this screams amateur production.  It’s a real shame, given that this film was directed by Patrick Lussier (I bet no one ever called him Trick for short). Lussier is best known for the delightful My Bloody Valentine remake, so he knows how to handle this sort of thing. Maybe he was sick that week.

Speaking of the kills, the movie seems to think that the second rate Rube Goldberg systems Trick employs are fresh and inventive, but honestly they aren’t. It feels like the director watched Saw too many times and kind of missed the point.

Trick is a no treat, friends. And, that terrible wordplay is more clever than anything that this movie has to offer.