‘Trick’ (2019) Short Movie Review: A Ghostly Halloween Treat

Love is filling the air as Valentine’s Day quickly approaches, leaving Halloween fanatics longing for their favorite time of year. However, up-and-coming filmmaker Elwood Quincy Walker (Kissed 2019) has just the remedy for this monster mash love sickness with his horror short, Trick. Packing a big punch with its brief 13 minute runtime, this award-winning, edge of your seat film pulls out all the stops, seasoned with subtle nods to genre classics.

L-R: Ryan Kearton as Freddy, Jordan Valadez as Sam, Emily Joy Lemus as Angela, Sam Uehling as Michael, Lexi Simonsen as Carrie

Emitting an October vibe in true Are You Afraid of the Dark? fashion, Trick opens with Angela (Emily Joy Lemus: Mank 2020) striking a single match to light a lone jack-o’-lantern that’s serving as a tabletop centerpiece. As the camera pans out, a group of five mismatched teenagers are revealed, awaiting the séance that is about to begin. Leading this gathering, Angela cautions the group to be respectful, keep the candle lit and maintain the circle… words that, of course, go unheeded.

While her companions are full of skepticism, Angela believes the local urban legend to be true. Ten years ago on Halloween night, horrific events befell a group of trick-or-treaters in the house where these teenagers now sit. It is this legend they intend to prove as fact or fiction.

Chloe Glassel, A.J. Danna and Liz Roman as the trick-or-treaters

Although they have little credits to their name, the cast performances are far from amateurs. Ryan Kearton embraces his inner jock as Freddy, displaying a certain level of curiosity masked behind disbelief. Turning the whole charade into a eye-rolling joke is newcomer Jordan Valadez as Sam… at least, until a cringeworthy moment of disrespect leads to his stomach churning fate. Lexi Simonsen (Satan’s Seven 2020) is perfect as Carrie, a sassy smartass unafraid to say what’s on her mind, while Sam Uehling (Disposer 2018) excellently portrays a kind-hearted, love-struck nerd named Michael. However, it is Lemus who maintains the film’s serious undertone unfazed by jokes with her calm and collected demeanor and captivating narration. The topping on this spinechilling treat is Shar Mayer (Haunters: The Art of the Scare 2017 – read our interview with her here) who makes a hair-raising appearance as all hell breaks loose.

Aiming for simplicity while blending elements of classic horror, Walker exhibits love for the genre and talent from behind the camera. Not only do the character names of Freddy, Michael, Carrie, Sam and Angela scream icons of horror, but the use of costume design and cinematography encompasses small, discreet nods to franchise favorites.

Careful not to lose itself in nostalgia, Walker’s work maintains its own originality through crafty storytelling, gruesome practical effects and outstanding attention to detail. Transitioning from narration and flashbacks to the séance, suspense builds while offering up some surprising jump scares nearly on par with blockbusters like The Conjuring. As I previously stated, séance rules are broken, and the threats become more real as an eerie score from composer Curtis RX hauntingly compliments every escalating moment.

Creating an autumn ambiance while pulling all the right moves, this short would make a fantastic creepy segment to an All Hallows Eve-themed anthology. A tasty, fun-size treat in this off-haunting season, Trick captures the very essence of Halloween, making it one short not to be missed. So indulge yourself on this cold winter night and check out the spooktacular short by clicking below!

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