To be perfectly honest, I was already half in the bag for Patrick Lussier’s Trick when it was first announced: I’m a big fan of many of Lussier’s directorial efforts (I’ll forever stand by my belief that Dracula 2000 is way more fun than it ever gets credit for), an even bigger fan of his editorial output, and have enjoyed his collaborative efforts with Todd Farmer over the last decade (who he also worked with on Trick) as well. Plus, with a cast that boasts the likes of Omar Epps, Tom Atkins, and Jamie Kennedy, and the fact that it's set around the Halloween season, I was more than primed for some slasher-ific fun with Trick, and as a whole, I was not disappointed.
The story begins several years earlier at a Halloween party, when a group of high schoolers are playing a version of “spin the bottle” utilizing a knife as the mechanism of choice, and Patrick “Trick” Weaver ends up having to kiss one of his male classmates. He flips out, and begins attacking and murdering his fellow partygoers, leaving only a few survivors behind. Trick himself is taken into custody at the local hospital after he suffers life-threatening injuries, but he finds a way to escape, somehow disappearing into thin air, leaving police utterly baffled in the wake of his uncanny ability to not only allude police, but also somehow survive a 20-foot jump out of a window.
At the center of the mysterious circumstances surrounding Trick Weaver is Detective Mike Denver (Epps), who can’t seem to figure out just who this kid was and how he managed to escape, but things only get weirder from there when the very next year, several people are brutally murdered, using Trick’s M.O., leaving Denver confused as to how that’s even possible. The very next year, more people are slaughtered, allowing the legend of Trick to grow even more, with the determined Detective Denver growing even more determined to stop the sadistic killer in his tracks, and put an end to his reign of terror over upstate New York.
But as the circumstances surrounding Trick Weaver and his annual murder spree are revealed, no one is fully prepared for the horrific influence this barbarous killer is having on not only this small community, but on society as a whole.
When it comes to slashers, you usually get a pretty straightforward approach where you have a killer (usually masked in some manner) on the loose, and basically it’s a game of cat and mouse as we wait to see if the antagonist will be caught and punished for their crimes (and somewhere in between, we get a whole lot of murder thrown in the mix). And to that effect, Trick certainly delivers what slasher fans would want out of a new slice-and-dice affair. But where the film actually superseded all my expectations is when the script, co-written by Lussier and Farmer, takes a very unexpected turn, and you realize that Trick is playing a much grander game than your run-of-the-mill killer on the loose story. To say any more on that would ruin some of the twists and turns, but as someone who feels like I can see most plot points coming from a mile away, where Trick heads in its third act was something I didn’t see coming at all, and that made me very happy.
In the same token, I do feel like there’s a lot of baggage that comes with the film’s unpredictable third act that bogs down the action and momentum that had been steadily building in Trick, leaving the last 10 minutes or so feeling slightly muddled in comparison to all that precedes it (things get very explain-y). It’s certainly not enough to fully derail Trick by any means, but it does feel slightly anticlimactic as it all initially wraps up. There is a pretty nifty scene at the very end, though, that gets things back on track, and it makes me hopeful we’ll see more from this world from both Lussier and Farmer in the future, because there’s great potential for more slasher-centric shenanigans for sure.
As far as the cast of Trick goes, everyone does great work here, but I must admit I was really happy to see as much of Tom Atkins as we do in the movie, just because I was worried he might have been brought in for a much smaller role (and every movie always benefits from having Atkins on screen as much as possible). I really liked Epps here, too, and Ellen Adair, whose character Sheriff Jayne spends a lot of time playing opposite of Detective Denver, really impressed me, as I hadn’t really seen Adair in action before, but I enjoyed her performance in Trick.
Another huge highlight to Trick were the film’s gnarly and awesome special effects. There are some truly savage slayings that the titular psychopath unleashes on his victims, and I love how Trick doesn’t shy away from the violence. Legendary special effects artists Gary Tunnicliffe is the madman behind all the blood and dismemberment, and he goes a great job with adding some fun elements to Trick’s different kills. I also dug the hell out of the different masks in Trick as well, and I hope they eventually go on to become iconic visages of the Halloween season, because they certainly deserve it.
2019 has proven to be a great year for horror movies centered around the seasonal traditions of October, between Candy Corn, Haunt, and now Trick, genre fans have plenty of new Halloween-centric offerings to choose to watch this October. And while Trick may not be a film for everyone, it certainly catered to me as a fan, and I had a great time with the latest tag team effort from both Lussier and Farmer. Here’s hoping we get to see more in the future.
Movie Score: 3.5/5