Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 10, 2019)
When a movie’s publicity claims it will allow us to “witness the birth of a horror legend”, this sets a high bar in terms of expectations. 2019’s Trick makes this boast, so let’s see if it stands up to scrutiny.
Back on Halloween Night 2015, high school student Patrick “Trick” Weaver (Thom Niemann) slaughtered multiple classmates at a party. In pursuit, Detective Mike Denver (Omar Epps) and Sheriff Lisa Jayne (Ellen Adair) manage to pump five rounds into Trick, but the teen still escapes.
Though most assume Trick died, additional murders happened on Halloween 2016. And Halloween 2017.
And so on. With this annual serial killer on the loose, Detective Denver looks to solve the case and end the menace once and for all.
Earlier, I mentioned that the movie’s hype set it up as a new classic. Alas, those claims fall far short of fruition.
Though Trick manages to actively rip-off a classic. When you set a movie on Halloween, it comes as no surprise that you get compared to the 1978 classic, but those behind Trick make these links too abundant.
Really, it seems like a mistake to frame any kind of slasher movie on Halloween, but Trick doesn’t stop with the basic conflation of holiday and murder method. The film posits Trick as a silent, unstoppable sort who seems awfully similar to Michael Myers.
Sure, Trick attempts some variations on these themes, but only when it embraces tropes from other films. You’ll find plenty of additional influences in this wholly uncreative effort.
The lack of originality might matter less if the end result gave us something coherent. Alas, Trick never manages a tale that feels natural or logical, so it hops from one “scare” to another without grounding.
The filmmakers stage Trick like one climax after another. With little screentime devoted to anything but Big Fright Scenes, none of it creates an impact, as the constant barrage numbs the viewer.
The cinematic choices become a substantial obstacle as well. Trick brings some of the most obnoxious “shakycam” work I’ve seen in a while, and this renders most of the film’s potential thrills impotent.
While intended to create a sense of excitement, the “urgent” camera movement just leaves the viewer with a visual mess. It’s tough to tell what’s happening half the time, as the frantic style leaves an incoherent presentation.
Even for a horror movie, Trick abounds with Stupid People Acting Stupidly. They openly act against their own interests for no reasons other than to motivate more slaughter.
There’s plenty of room in this world for a new horror franchise, but fans will need to look elsewhere. Trick delivers a lazy, poorly-made recitation of clichés.