Text Box: DVDSleuth.com

Text Box:   




DVDSleuth.com is your source for daily DVD news and reviews.

Trick (2019) 

RLJ Entertainment

Blu-ray Disc: 12/17/2019 

All Ratings out of 

Movie: 1/2




Review by Mike Long, Posted on 12/9/2019

“Timing is everything” is one those sayings which has universal truth.  Whether it be in business, in comedy, or in romance, timing things perfectly can make all the difference in the world.  This can pertain to making a move at the optimal moment, or doing something when those involved are in the right frame of mind.  For example, when one has made a holiday movie, common sense says to release that movie at or near the time of that holiday.  (Yes, Hallmark starts showing Christmas movies two months before the end of December, but at least they don’t miss the mark.)  So, why is the film Trick, which is about Halloween, being released in mid-December?  Great question.

Trick opens at a Halloween party thrown by a group of high school students.  While the group is playing a version of “Spin the Bottle”, in which a knife takes the place of the bottle, Patrick “Trick” Weaver (Thom Niemann) suddenly snaps and begins stabbing the other party-goers, until he’s finally subdued.  Later on, while being interviewed by Sheriff Lisa Jayne (Ellen Adair) and Detective Mike Denver (Omar Epps), Trick escapes from his hospital room and, despite being shot, disappears.  For the next few years, every Halloween a massacre takes place and Denver is convinced that it’s Trick, even though everyone else thinks that the killer is dead.  Now retired, Denver is still determined to catch Trick and as Halloween approaches, he braces for a new round of murders.

While cinephiles are obviously familiar with actors, they often pay more attention to those who are behind the camera and follow their careers.  Patrick Lussier began his career as an editor and in 1994, he worked on Wes Craven’s New Nightmare and stayed with Craven through seven more projects.   During this time, Lussier also started directing some low-budget horror films moving up to helm mid-budget titles such as 2009’s My Bloody Valentine and 2011’s Drive Angry.  However, following that latter film, which was a notable flop, Lussier seemingly disappeared.  As someone who appreciated the work he put into shots which involved moving cameras, I was interested to see what he would do with his “comeback” film.

The answer is, not much.  As Director and Co-Writer of Trick, we can point the finger at Lussier for the film’s short-comings, of which there are many.  But, let’s start with the positives, of which there are few.  Despite what is presumably a low budget, Lussier does try to give the film a slick look and there are some nice shots here.  The mask which Trick wears in the opening scene is interesting and somewhat reminiscent of the original poster for Halloween II.  The case seems pretty game, although, I barely recognized Jamie Kennedy.

The problems with Trick lie in the story, as Lussier and Co-Writer Todd Farmer (who appears in the film as a police officer) clearly had an idea…and not much else.  There is no character development here and we never learn exactly why Trick becomes a killer as, by all accounts, he was a nice, quiet kid.  But, if one goes back and looks at that opening scene, Trick snaps when, during the game of “Spin the Knife”, he is asked to kiss another male.  Was his attack triggered by homophobia?  Am I the only one seeing this?  If that’s the case, that certainly isn’t cool.  The film’s finale attempts to explain the years-long murder spree, but it’s convoluted at best and laughable at worse.  And when the film goes back to fill in the blanks on one key question, things become ridiculous.  Giving the villain an air of mystery is one thing, but giving them no backstory whatsoever simply comes across as lazy writing.  (Whereas most slasher films as murder-mysteries, Trick appears to be taking a cue from Halloween and offering a tale where we know the killer’s identity from the outset.  But, whereas Michael Myers was more of an enigma, Trick is just an underwritten character.)

The box for Trick declares, “Witness the Birth of a Horror Legend”.  This does allude to the movie’s story, but it also hints that the filmmakers are attempting to create a new movie franchise.  Slow your roll there, buddy.  The elements of Trick can barely sustain one movie, much less any sequels.  Despite the involvement of an experienced director, Trick reveals itself to be an uninspired slasher film which feels like something which came from a group of amateurs.  Why wasn’t Trick released in October when it would have felt much more relevant?  That question becomes quite moot when queries such as “What was that movie supposed to be about?” are much more prevalent.  Slasher movies have never been the most thought-provoking or deep cinematic experiences, but Trick is especially lacking in detail and it’s certainly no treat.

Trick is the opposite of a full-size Snickers on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of RLJ Entertainment.  The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 30 Mbps.  The image is sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source materials.  The colors look good, and the image is never overly dark or bright, despite the fact that much of finale takes place at night.  The level of detail works well and the depth is fine.  The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.5 Mbps.  The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects.  The action sequences provide a nice amount of surround and subwoofer action, which some occasional detailed sounds.  The stereo effects add presence to some of the scenes, as they portray sounds coming from off-screen.  The score sounds especially good here.

The lone extra feature on the Trick Blu-ray Disc is “The Making of Trick”.  This 15-minute featurette offers comments from Lussier and Farmer who discuss the concept and the characters.  We eventually hear from Epps and Adair, along with actress Kristina Reyes and actors Tom Atkins and Jamie Kennedy, who talk about their roles.  The piece contains a nice amount of on-set footage. 

Review Copyright 2019 by Mike Long