This year at Screamfest in Hollywood, California we have been treated to a multitude of new and returning voices in Horror. No matter what your taste is, you’re going to see something fun and memorable. This year I was able to attend the premiere of TRICK. Written by Todd Farmer and Patrick Lussier, and directed by Patrick Lussier, TRICK is the story of a detective who is trying to track down a serial killer named Trick who is terrorizing his home town along with small towns that are close by.
You may be familiar with Patrick’s work; Dracula 2000, My Bloody Valentine, and Drive Angry. All are such a fun films that are a good time to watch and include heart stopping action. There were a lot of things I loved about TRICK, and equally there were a lot of things that I found to be really distracting.
TRICK opens with a party on Halloween with all the familiar faces there such as your jocks, your fun friend , the hot shy girl, and the creep in a mask who is a little too comfortable playing the part. Spin the knife begins, where will the two points land and who will have to kiss?! First comes the kisses, next comes the kills. Trick grabs his blade and begins slaughtering the party goers one by one. I will say that throughout the movie, there are some really great practical effects that can be seen. And in the horror genre, in my opinion, practical gore always looks so much more substantial than CGI. Hats off to the folks on the FX team as they did a really superb job throughout the film. Trick is then taken down by one of the party goers and hauled off to the local hospital where he’s chained to the bed and just stares blankly forward showing no remorse for the nights previous actions. Detective Denver, played by Omar Epps, wants to know how a kid with no priors and who is described as a quiet and thoughtful, one day flips a switch and massacres his classmates. Getting zero answers from Trick we see him somehow break away from the bonds holding him to his bed, making a run for it. That whole act ends with Trick falling from a couple stories up and landing with a thud that I won’t soon forget. It’s a great set up for the mythology of this character. A killer who Detective Denver believes is Trick is now popping up in surrounding towns leaving a trail of bodies behind him. Is it him? Could he have survived the fall? The whole movie is a roller coaster of emotions and not all of them are great.
Some of the things I loved are that this film has some really strong female characters. Ellen Adair plays Sheriff Lisa Jayne and I loved the way her character was a force to be reckoned with. She’s level headed, never quite buying in to what Detective Mike Denver believes, instead wanting evidence and cold hard facts before she buys into the hysteria of the town. Dani Shay, who is non-binary transmasculine, plays the badass Deputy Green, who is the Sheriffs partner in crime. I wish he had a larger part because the character was mysterious and I wanted to know more about him. Kristina Reyes plays Cheryl Winston, the survivor of the very first massacre, and someone who is not to be messed with. I had the opportunity to speak with her briefly and it was really lovely to hear her speak of wanting to be a positive role model as well as how she wants to see more strong roles for Latinas. She remains to the very end a formidable adversary to Trick.
There are also some hidden, and not so hidden gems, regarding casting. One of our horror legends, Tom Atkins, plays Talbott, a man who can do no wrong. He makes me smile and is who I want to see in my local diner when I eventually move to a small town in Maine. Another hidden casting gem is Melody Hurd, who plays Janice, who may have a small role but boy is she impactful in the time she’s given on screen. She nails her lines with really great comedic timing and makes the role shine resulting in the whole theatre exploding in laughter. Aaron Dalla Villa plays smooth Johnny and his onscreen character is dwarfed by his offscreen personality. I wish he had been given more time on screen because he has such an electric energy in person, there’s no way that would not have translated on screen. Just like Melody Hurd, he takes the moment he is given and really makes his character shine.
Towards the end, the movie did begin to give me a Lord Of the Rings feel, in that it felt like the movie had ended but then continued on for three more false endings. It felt as if there could have been a lot of scenes cut to streamline the end of the movie without taking away from the integrity of the film. As is stands, TRICK had a really strong start but had a hard time keeping the momentum towards the end. The dialogue at times also seemed to get a little bogged down and could have also used either a cut down or tightening up.
TRICK is a really exuberant romp into the spirit of Halloween with the added ingredients that are needed to create a killer icon. Ultimately, I think TRICK had a great idea but needed to tighten things up a bit. Go check out TRICK because it’s important to support our horror family. I love the fact that, strong or not, stories are being made and giving people the opportunity to live in a spooky world, if only for a few hours. TRICK arrives in theaters, On-Demand and Digital HD October 18, 2019.