Halloween is here, bringing with it the annual plethora of silly, pointless scream-fests that are rarely any scarier than a flu shot. This year, they’re all bad, but the one to really skip is a thing called Trick. Directed with liquid valium by Patrick Lussier (Dracula 2000) and banged out on a computer keyboard by Todd Farmer (Jason X), it’s a cheesy, actionable rip-off of the John Carpenter Halloween franchise with plenty of blood and jack o’lanterns, but without a shred of originality. Even a guest appearance by Jamie Lee Curtis couldn’t bring this celluloid zombie to life.
On Halloween 2015, a partygoer in a pumpkin mask named Trick (short for Patrick, get it?) goes berserk and slaughters five guests with a knife, gets shot multiple times and dragged away in an ambulance. But when detective Mike Denver (Omar Epps) asks why, the alleged corpse hops off the gurney and massacres all the doctors, nurses, cops and patients he can find before he plunges three stories to the concrete below and walks away.
He’s presumed dead, but nobody produces a body. Research reveals he survived a prank that landed him in a frozen river. Now he returns every Halloween to seek revenge. By 2019 the cop who survived all four previous Halloween carnages has become Trick’s prime victim. Where is Michael Myers, now that we need him?
The film amounts to nothing more than a familiar cat and mouse game of “where will the maniac strike next, and will the cop and the sheriff stop him before he murders half the populace?” The bodies pile up while the set-ups get duller. The attempt to cash in on the Halloween theme is as subtle as a sledgehammer, with obvious hopes for a series. (Ain’t gonna happen, folks, ain’t gonna happen.)
Trick is the new Michael Myers (no family, no history, no future)—described by one character as the yearly “fog that rolls in without rhyme, reason or remorse.” Unfortunately, his story lacks the glue to hold any possibility of a sequel (god forbid a series) together. Operating at low wattage, the film is so dark that sometimes you can’t even see who’s getting beheaded. Despite a town maze where mischievous teens go to get slashed and a movie theater that shows endless re-runs of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, it doesn’t follow enough of a thread to warrant another installment.