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3 Dead Trick or Treaters
by Torin Langen

I have spoken in length about anthologies before. I have seen many of all different shapes and sizes, but up until recently hadn't experienced any film quite like 3 Dead Trick or Treaters. I started the film completely unsure about what I would be viewing and I ended it impressed and genuinely intrigued by what I saw.

3 Dead Trick or Treaters is a silent anthology, in the sense that no actual words are spoken; no dialogue. This is a bold move but to my surprise and delight, this film pulls the task off tremendously. Just because it's done without talking, doesn't mean it goes the super artsy incoherent route. I don't mean that as a bad thing about movies in that vein, I like quite a few of them. But 3 Dead Trick or Treaters taks the wonderfully unexpected direction of being a full-on, story driven anthology film. It's a difficult feat to pull off, but the flick did an amazing job.

3 Dead Trick or Treaters comes complete with a frame story. We follow a young man who stumbles upon several graves. Each grave has a story to tell and that is to what we, the audience, bear witness. What follows is a lyrical, riveting film that plays out beautifully. The stories are all given titles, further establishing it's classic anthology feel. The stories that deal with murder and mayhem, police investigation, fanatics carrying out their sinister ritual and murders in the woods. The film flows from story to story in a skillful fluid motion. We get glimpses at people on their worst days, some possible their best. We see heartbreak and fear, terror and disconnection; every emotion ringing true.

The film is easy to follow but doesn't take the safe road either, finding interesting ways to tell the stories. There is a flair of the mysterious about it and so while things aren't always clear cut, I found myself fully aware of what I should be feeling in the moment. There's a touch of melancholy to the whole project, almost a looming sadness that never fully goes away. That may sound like somewhat of a draining experience but it doesn't feel that way. There's a subtle beauty to the scenes that make the film feel alive while staying true to the dreary overall feel.

The acting is all great. The movie relies on expression largely and all the players did their jobs well. Even at times when faces are covered by masks, the emotion of the characters came through with ease. The movie itself has a classic Halloween-time feel to it that I appreciated. The use of music and background sounds was perfect for what was happening on the screen as the film found creative ways to avoid spoken word.

I love all different kinds of horror films. People who know me know that I fully identify as a gore hound who loves hyper-violent in-your-face cinema. However, I also acknowledge that such things don't fit with every project. I mean, I love martial arts scenes in movies too but that doesn't mean every movie is made to feature such action. In the same way, the lack of blood and gore in 3 Dead Trick or Treaters didn't come across as a disappointment in the slightest. I love splatter but that's not what this film is about. It's more about sinking into your bones and filling the viewer with touches of fear and sadness, loss and reflection. It's a moody, dream-like project that makes good use of it's subtly and gentle approach. It was refreshing and new and I still find myself thinking about it regularly.

I've never seen a film quite like 3 Dead Trick or Treaters. It doesn't use the silent nature as an excuse to do whatever the hell it wants nonsensically. It is strung together with care and puts forth real effort forward as it invites the viewer in. It uses the silent aspect well, forming moments that are understandably without word. There are times, situations in life that can only be met with silence. This is where the film finds its life, aligning itself with those feelings many of us are more than familiar with. It's a haunting project that stays consistent and engaging all the way through.

I'm so glad that I got the chance to check out 3 Dead Trick or Treaters. I found it to be a commendable effort that does the creative idea justice. I was previously familiar with writer/director Torin Langen”s work in Late Night Double Feature. These two films are very different but talent is talent, which is why both are fantastic in their own way. I highly recommend checking it out and anxiously await Torin's Langen's future work.

P.J. Griffin, HMS

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