Patrick Lussier is no stranger to horror films. His career began as an editor for features like Vampire in Brooklyn, Scream, and Halloween H20. He then directed the mega-flop Dracula 2000, along with a slew of straight-to-video sequels. A string of “gems” followed: see White Noise 2: The Light (that title!), My Bloody Valentine and the Nicolas Cage starrer, the berserk Drive Angry (that last one was actually vastly underrated by both critics and audiences).
After an extended hiatus, Lussier is back in the director’s chair with the harebrained slasher flick, inventively titled Trick. The one positive thing I can say about it is that it’s good to see Mr. Omar Epps, gracing the silver screen once again (he recently appeared in Almost Christmas and Traffik after an extended hiatus – to his credit, he’s been busy on a little show called House). Too bad he chose this ill-conceived, borderline-offensive excuse for a horror film to be his next project. The lack of investment is all over Epps’ face – well, good for him, cash that paycheck, man. Apart from the actor’s presence, this Halloween “fright-fest” has next-to-no tricks up its costumed sleeves.
It all starts giddily enough. Trick hilariously opens with the definition of the word “trick” (Merriam-Webster?). A rowdy Halloween party unfolds in the small suburban town of Benton, NY, in 2005. A game of “spin the blade” rapidly devolves into a massacre, with Patrick Weaver, a.k.a. Trick (Thom Niemann) slicin’ and dicin’ folks left and right while wearing a pumpkin mask. He gets stabbed and caught. Detective Mike Denver (Epps) is on the case, along with Sheriff Lisa Jayne (Ellen Adair). “This kid is in the big leagues now,” Mike says, staring at Trick’s bed-ridden body in the hospital. “And I’m betting he’s got a date with death row.”
Trick proceeds to make a highly-improbable escape out of the hospital, slicin’ and dicin’ his way out of a second-story window, head-first – bam! – against the pavement. Believe it or not, the fucker still plunges into a nigh-frozen river, to consequently haunt Mike forever and ever. This is where the film plummets into the depths of banality. Killings start to reoccur every Halloween, and Mike has “no doubt that each one of them was Trick.” Yet, due to his obsessive behavior, the FBI “kindly forces [Mike’s] retirement” – and now it’s up to Mike, Sheriff Jayne, and Cheryl (Kristina Reyes), a survivor of the original killings, to capture the possibly-not-of-this-world maniac. It all leads to a nonsensical “twist” ending.