Review: TRICK (2019)

TRICK Poster

I’ve been covering Trick, the new film from director Patrick Lussier and co-writer Todd Farmer since Dermot Mulroney was scheduled to play the lead. Now it’s a year later, and the film, now starring Omar Epps is here. The pair previously collaborated on Drive Angry and My Bloody Valentine 3D. Is their return to holiday slashers a contender for seasonal honors? Or just a pale clone of what’s come before?

Trick certainly gets off to a great start. At Halloween party, several of the kids are playing a spooky version of spin the bottle using a large knife. When Patrick (Thom Niemann), Trick to his friends, is faced with the prospected of kissing another guy he grabs the knife and goes on a killing spree instead.

He not only survives being impaled with a fireplace poker but makes a bloody escape from the hospital. Det. Denver (Omar Epps, In Too Deep, House) and Sheriff Jayne (Ellen Adair) put enough bullets in him to blow him out a second-floor window. He still manages to drag himself to the river where he’s assumed to have drowned.

Four years later there’s still a lot of unanswered questions. The body was never found, and it seems Trick’s identity was an elaborate hoax. Nobody knows who he really was, though there’s an internet cult devoted to him. And every year there’s a mass killing in a town along the river. Now this year Trick has come home.

Trick is an insanely paced film, full of bloody killing, including multiple, on-screen, decapitations. One by way of a gravestone on the end of a crane no less. A bit improbable, but very effective. The film mixes more conventional stabbings with booby traps and some elaborately planned set pieces. Lussier and Farmer have created a killer who seems to combine Michael Myers’ boogeyman with the intelligence of Hannibal Lecter. And a very sick sense of humor. Murder, for Trick, is performance art.

Thankfully Trick didn’t put all its effort into the killer. There’s some work been put into making the townsfolk more than just cannon fodder. Jamie Kennedy (Scream, Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell) is surprisingly good as a doctor. Kristina Reyes and Kya Brickhouse do well as survivors of the original killings trying to go on with their lives. Writer/actor Todd Farmer (American Muscle, Don’t Kill It) gives himself a small role as a cop. And Tom Atkins (The Fog, Maniac Cop) plays an older version of the badass he’s famous for playing.

There are some obvious questions that will pop up during Trick. And they are all answered by the time the credits roll. And about the only thing, you’ll be able to guess about the ending is what the publicity releases have said. That it sets up for a sequel and possible franchise.

I expect the ending and final reveals will get a very divided reaction. It makes sense, and I was OK with it. But I can understand some viewers feeling it’s more of a trick than a treat. I am, however, holding my opinion of how well it will play over several films.

RLJE Films will release Trick in theaters and on digital and VOD October 18th.

Jim Morazzini

Movie buff, gym rat and crazy cat guy

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