Trick Movie Review

Written by R.J. MacReady

Released by RLJE Films

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Directed by Matt Allen
Written by Todd Farmer and Patrick Lussier
2019, 100 Minutes, Not Rated
Released on October 18th, 2019

Omar Epps as Det. Mike Denver
Jamie Kennedy as Dr. Steven
Vanessa Aspillaga as Agent Tina Mendez
Tom Atkins as Talbott
Alex Breaux as Len
Ellen Adair as Sheriff Lisa Jayne
Kristina Reyes as Cheryl Winston

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From writer Todd Farmer and director Patrick Lussier comes this Halloween-based flick about a young psycho named Patrick, nicknamed "Trick" by his high school peers. Farmer and Lussier worked together before to some success on the My Bloody Valentine remake, but separately have had hits and misses creatively. The hits for Farmer have been Jason X and Messengers 2: The Scarecrow, while Lussier's Dracula 2000 is fun if forgettable. But they've worked together on the not-great Drive Angry, and both have some downright bad flicks under their belts.

Which does Trick turn out to be? A trick or a treat? (Sorry, couldn't be helped.)

The movie starts out at a high school party where, for some reason, the teens are playing "Spin The Knife", which is a variation of "Spin The Bottle" that I've never heard of (and believe me, if this was a thing, I'd have heard of it). Things take a bad turn when Trick decides he's had enough, and turns it into a game of "Stick the Knife in Your Classmates".

It's an okay scene in which the cinematography by Amanda Treyz (Night Watchmen) comes across as amateurish, but doesn't manage to destroy the impact of the carnage that commences. The next scene takes place in the hospital, where Trick is now handcuffed to a bed, but he manages to escape and kill some more people, leaving FBI Agent Mike Denver – played by Omar Epps – minus a few law-enforcement friends.

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The film jumps a few years forward where Denver is now retired from the FBI and has become a police detective. He hangs out with friends at a diner run by the legendary Tom Atkins, who drops the accurate line, "Everybody likes me," but is otherwise criminally-underused. I'm not sure why they didn't give him the leading role in the film, because every time he's on the screen it's a breath of fresh air. Nobody delivers lines like the Atkins does.

(As an aside, Jamie Kennedy is in this for perhaps two minutes as a doctor that shows up to...well, pretty much do nothing.)

Trick is a bit cookie-cutterish. It feels like Farmer and Lussier were like, "Wouldn't it be cool to make a Halloween movie about a kid named Trick?", and then they just built everything around that premise without putting in much work. There are very few memorable characters outside of Tom Atkins' Talbott.

Not helping matters is the nearly-100% handheld camera approach they took (other than a few drone shots). Handheld feels cheap unless it's used in particularly frenetic scenes, so that this whole movie feels uber low-budget. To make bad worse, they do a lot of handheld zooming that accomplishes nothing except to make you scrunch your face up at how awkward it is every time.

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The ending doesn't make a lot of sense either. It would be a spoiler to explain why, but given how motiveless Trick's killing spree is, you can feel some sort of surprise ending coming; it's unfortunate that it makes very little sense.

That's not to say the movie's terrible. If you're looking for a Halloween-based movie to watch near the holiday because you're tired of watching Trick 'r Treat for the hundredth time, then you could give this a shot. It's got enough blood and guts to satisfy the gorehounds, and seeing Tom Atkins pick up a shotgun gives the warm fuzzies, as it brings back memories from Night of the Creeps.

On final analysis, Trick is a perfectly serviceable slasher, hurt by whoever made the call to go all-handheld, but Tom Atkins manages to give life to the film by playing the perennial Tom Atkins sardonic everyman. If you're looking for something you haven't seen that takes place during Halloween, you could do worse.

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Movie: 2.5 Star Rating Cover

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R.J. MacReady
Staff Reviewer
RJ MacReady digs horror movies, even though his first memory of horror films is watching the first Friday the 13th movie while a bear mauled his family in the other room. He admits that most of his bio is as fake as his moniker, but witness protection won't let him use his real name.
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