There are certain things that draw us to a new movie. Sometimes it’s a director we love, sometimes it’s word of mouth, sometimes it’s the inane ramblings of an overweight beardy man behind his computer screen waxing lyrical, and sometimes it’s the intrigue of actors that you’ve grown up loving, but who had, for a while, simply disappeared from your immediate sphere of consciousness. As such, when the synopsis for Trick surfaced, announcing a new horror movie starring Omar Epps and Jamie Kennedy, I found myself suitably intrigued.
Trick kicks off in bloody fashion when seeming wallflower Patrick “Trick” Weaver (Thom Niemann) violently massacres his classmates during a game of spin the bottle at a high school Halloween party. His killing spree is stopped when he is stabbed by Cheryl (Kristina Reyes), momentarily hospitalising him, only for him to continue the blood bath until he is eventually shot, seemingly dead, by no-nonsense cop Mike Denver (Omar Epps). In traditional Halloween fayre, the body disappears, and the killings continue every year thereafter, causing Trick to become the town’s answer to the boogeyman.
What follows is an annual manhunt for the spirit of Trick, with Denver believing some supernatural evil is at work, whilst his partner, Jayne (Ellen Adair), is determined something much more sinister is at play, leading to some delightful Mulder and Scully-esque banter amidst the gory chaos.
Although there are clear parallels to predecessors Scream and Saw, Trick manages to keep things fresh through its constant roller-coaster of twists and turns, subverting our expectations of the genre. We’ve seen this before, and thus we are constantly trying to use our prior knowledge to get one step ahead of our protagonists. Nevertheless, there is always a sense of unease and uncertainty that leads to a delightfully clever pay-off in the film’s final act.
Performances are strong, with Epps doing what he does best as the world-weary Denver, his relationship with Adair’s head-strong detective certainly giving the audience something to look forward to in the obviously-set-up sequel.
Overall, Trick treads familiar ground with a smart new outlook. It’s a copy-cat killer that knows how not to get caught, and will certainly keep blood-thirsty fans of the genre guessing throughout.
Dir: Patrick Lussier
Scr: Todd Farmer, Patrick Lussier
Prd: Ita Kennedy, Ellen S. Wander
DoP: Amanda Treyz
Runtime: 100 minutes
Trick is available on VOD from Monday March 30th