If you're anything like me, a kind social phobe with a skewed reality, then you likely believe as I do that there's not much actually scarier than real life itself.
Oh sure, horror films can create a sense of anxiety and terror and hyped up drama, but what's truly scary is when real life meets real horror.
Welcome to the world of A Tricky Treat, an immensely satisfying three-minute short centered around one ill-fated man (Leonard Waldner) who not so willingly encounters a family who invites him into their ghoulishly sentimental Halloween tradition.
The film will kick off what is destined to be a long and wildly successful festival run with its premiere at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival Short Corner in May, no small indicator that this film, within the short span of three minutes, is stylish, substantial, seriously demented, and a whole lot of fun.
A Tricky Treat is directed by multi-award winning filmmaker Patricia Chica, whose films Serpent's Lullaby and Let it Out! also played at the Short Film Corner. Born in El Salvador and raised in Montreal, Chica self-describes herself as a filmmaker interested in exploring thought-provoking themes that deal with deviant behavior and, indeed, A Tricky Treat fits right into that artistic mold.
Written by Kamal John Iskander, A Tricky Treat is a delightfully gruesome film yet also a thought-provoking one that leaves you rather guiltily grossed out and laughing alone. The film packs an immediate punch, at three minutes it kind of has to, with its simple yet extraordinary premise played out in a way that leaves you thinking "I can't believe they went there" and "I can't believe I didn't think of this myself."
The film's production quality is top notch across the board. D.P. Imad Rhayem's lensing is bathed in a warmth that ups the demented nature of everything that's going on, while Gabrielle Giraud's production design is nothing less than truly inspired. Chica edits the film herself and truly maximizes the film's impact from shot-to-shot. The entire visual effects team deserves major kudos for constructing effects that are jarringly effective and memorable.
The ensemble cast for A Tricky Treat with the film having a strong emphasis on vocal work that is weirdly fun and joy-filled. As I found myself reflecting on the viewing experience, I found myself contemplating such weird childhood memories as The Addams Family, old Hanna-Barbera cartoons, and good ole' 80's horror.
In other words, I loved it.
A Tricky Treat is proof positive that a good filmmaker can make a good film whether given three minutes or three hours. With A Tricky Treat, Patricia Chica explores humanity without exploiting nor making light of it. It's her ability to weave together darkness and light that truly turns A Tricky Treat into an immensely entertaining slice of real life.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic