First, there was Michael. Then, there was Jason, followed by Freddy, Chucky and Ghostface. Now, there’s Trick, a slasher villain who stands out from this storied group for one distinct reason: he sucks. Although it seems like the creators of the film Trick are trying to push him as the next big horror icon, you can only go so far with a morose, Columbine-y teen who has no discernible backstory or identifiable character traits, whose only weapon is a basic hunting knife and whose outfit consists of bargain basement face paint and a hoodie. Basically, he looks like he’d just as easily be yelling, “MOM, GET OUT OF MY ROOM!” as he would be stabbing you to death.
But here he is as the titular character in Trick, and playing Ahab to this white whale of a killer is none other than Omar Epps, whose previous appearance in a slasher, Scream 2, memorably went spectacularly awry. Thankfully, he lasts more than five minutes this time around and is in fact the headlining star, although ultimately it’s Latina Cheryl (Kristina Reyes) who’s the heroic “final girl.”
Epps plays Mike Denver, a police detective in the small town of Benton, New York, where high schooler Patrick “Trick” Weaver goes bonkers during a Halloween game of spin the bott — er, KNIFE, killing five classmates who try to pressure him into kissing another boy. (Spin the Knife: guaranteed stabbings since 1984.) Was this a homophobic act? We’ll never know, because this movie ignores that aspect completely and isn’t interested in exploring anything outside of the typical slasher motivation of “Dat boy crazy!”
So, despite being stabbed, shot multiple times and falling from a second-story window, crazy-ass Trick manages to slip out of the cops’ grasp, and every Halloween since then, he returns to kill again, each body building up his cult following within the lovers of homicidal maniacs who apparently make up a large portion of our population.
There’s potential here for a decent, coherent fright flick — one that doesn’t play out like a repetitive cat-and-mouse game in which the villain taunts the heroes from afar, managing one improbable escape after another, each evasion a disheartening reminder to viewers that this interminable film is destined to continue for at least another 15 minutes that you could’ve otherwise spent bonding with your children or performing non-anesthetized self-dentistry — but this unscary mess, whose twists are as predictable as they are illogical and unlikely, is not that movie.
While it’s nice to see Epps in a co-starring role, he deserves better than this, as does horror legend Tom Atkins, who has a small part. Jamie Kennedy, on the other hand, well…at least HE got to survive Scream 2.