Trick

To put it bluntly, Trick fucking rocks.

Sounds odd to say that about a film directed by Patrick Lussier, whose previous credits include Dracula 2000 (and its two sequels), as well as Drive Angry and My Bloody Valentine, but here we are. Lussier must have needed a little time to build up to his destiny as a small-scale schlock maestro. Good thing he got all that practice.

Trick has a simple premise: Half a decade ago, Patrick “Trick” Weaver (Thom Niemann) murdered several teenagers during a Halloween party, only to be stopped by classmate Cheryl (Kristina Reyes), police detective Denver (Omar Epps) and local Sheriff Lisa Jayne (Ellen Adair). But Trick, despite multiple gunshot wounds and lacerations, escaped custody.

Now another massacre occurs on Halloween each year, with witnesses citing a perpetrator who bears a likeness to Trick. Denver, obsessed with finding him, becomes a rogue cop whose inability to play by the rules gets him kicked off the force … until Trick returns openly this time, and it’s up to Denver, Jayne and Cheryl to stop his most recent spree.

When it comes to slasher movies, a simple plot goes a long way, and Trick is about as simple as they come. A tough cop, a hot college girl, a pretty sheriff and a bunch of disposable students, federal agents and civilians for Trick to kill in increasingly ludicrous ways. Of course, no slasher movie would be complete without a nonsensical twist at the end, and Trick has a handful of them but also never overstays its welcome thanks to the litany of smashings, stranglings, stabbings and shootings. This one has them all, with gusto. Gusto. It may be one of the most gloriously gory films of 2019.

Oh, and for what it’s worth, Jamie Kennedy shows up as a local doctor.

The slasher genre became self-effacing over 30 years ago and has never done a particularly good job of regaining dramatic weight; the most recent attempt at a “serious slasher” movie was last year’s Halloween reboot, which was risible. It’s thus become overly common for slashers to go all-in with the wink-wink, nudge-nudge to an audience accustomed to being in on the joke. Trick never treats itself like a joke, but it also adopts an in-your-face aesthetic that invites an audience familiar with the slasher formula to raptly follow violent act to violent act.

It knows it’s absurd but never wastes time trying to impress the audience with clever in-jokes. The expository dialogue is goofy but played straight. Trick by no means a dramatic heavyweight or a return to evocative storytelling, and although nothing is scary here, there are also few tongue-in-cheek attempts at self-awareness to impress the audience. The spills are the thrills here, and Lussier knows what he’s tasked with delivering. Trick is all treats from start to finish.


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Administrator of Midwest Film Journal. Previously a staff writer for TheFilmYap.com, Evan has been writing film criticism in the Indianapolis area for over half a decade. He is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. He also reviews Oreos.


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