Trick (2019) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Trick (2019) Review

Horrorific content by jessicagomez on October 31st, 2019 | Movie Review | Halloween, Serial Killer, Halloween Slasher

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The story centers on an elusive serial killer, who descends upon a small town annually. He is responsible for gruesome murders year after year, each seemingly unrelated. No one believes this could be the same killer. Detective Denver has faced Trick once before, having shot and killed him. Or so everyone keeps telling him. However, Denver knows Trick is still out there, and he’s coming back for revenge..

Trick (2019) was directed by Patrick Lussier who also directed My Bloody Valentine (2009) and Drive Angry (2011)  and stars Omar Epps (from Dracula 2000), Jamie Kennedy (from Scream 2) and Tom Atkins (from Maniac Cop).

Always Choose Treat 

Trick, which has been playing in a small selection of theaters across the US, has been very polarizing. Some love it, some hate it. It’s a Halloween slasher, so I had to see for myself.

When I heard notable names such as Omar Epps (who replaced Dermot Mulroney ) and Jamie Kennedy were part of the cast, and that Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer ( Jason X ) were at the helm, I was expecting a film with a larger budget. The first scene, where Trick first strikes at a high school Halloween party, makes it clear that this is a much smaller film than anticipated. (Is it me, or was this the quietest group of people watching their friends get stabbed to death? Is Trick homophobic, or did he set up this spin-the-knife love fest? I’ve got some unanswered questions about the opening scene.) This threw a lot of people for a loop, but all you have to do to enjoy Trick is adjust your expectations.

Patrick, known as Trick, is a quiet high school student whose face no one seems to be able to put their finger on. This plays a part later - Trick has been overlooked, and he uses this as fuel for his sinister agenda. When Detective Denver (Epps) tries to look into his background, he finds it impossible to find anything about Trick. Denver has a run-in with Trick and everyone assumes Trick has died, but Denver suspects that he may still be out there. When a massacre of a similar nature occurs the next Halloween and the next, Denver becomes more and more sure that Trick is alive and taunting the town. But with no leads on who Trick really is, the only way to find him - or his copycat? - is to wait for the next Halloween and get to him before he strikes again. 

Stereotypes abound - the dumb jock is a jerk, and the quiet bullied kid wants to gain power through revenge. But Trick is a different kind of slasher; this is no “one stab and you’re done” type of killer. The kills were ruthless, extremely violent and gruesome. The stabbings are more realistic than most other horror films, giving us what you’d actually expect from a deranged person stabbing large numbers of people to death. 

There were a couple of plot issues that proved problematic. Most notably, Cheryl ( Kristina Reyes ) does not recognize Trick when she sees him later in the movie, even though earlier she’d said they’d studied together.

Tom Atkins has a supporting role and clearly had a ton of fun with it, and it made the movie more fun for the viewer as well. There are lots of meta references, such as tons of small attributes to Halloween , a poster for Scream at a horror movie marathon (Kennedy starred in and Lussier edited the film), and the masks given out at the marathon (and even on a television screen at one point!) are akin to the also-polarizing Halloween III: Season of the Witch , for which Atkins is beloved. 

Epps and Kennedy took their roles very seriously, but most of the smaller acting roles were pretty shaky, as was some of the camera work. I did love the representation in the film, though; there was a generally equal amount of men and women in the film, with different races and sexual preferences represented without getting sleazy. (Though it was not lost on me that, like most serial killers, the person behind this was white.)

Deeper themes lie beneath the surface of Trick, including the rise of Neo Nazis and other hate groups through the use of Youtube and social media. Instead of school shootings, it was ritualistic stabbings. This film brought the underground, cult-like mentality to the surface, and the premise is believable, which is enough to scare me.

Worth Watching?

The execution could have been better, but there’s lots to like: the effects for the kills provided plenty of bloodshed for the slasher fan, the killer reveal is unique, and though the sociopolitical commentary is grazed rather than explored, it does provide an interesting plot point. And, of course, there’s an opening for a sequel. 

Judge for yourself. Trick is available now on VOD.

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