Review: A Tricky Treat (2015)

ATT“I think for me, every movie I get into has my DNA, my stamp, my signature and my style on it. I love to tell a story that have a purpose that have a strong message and will elevate the audience when they leave no matter.” – Filmmaker Patricia Chica

A lot can be captured, expressed and told in a minute… a critically acclaimed mind, soul and creative spirit like Patricia Chica’s can say so much in such a short amount of time. Whether it is the aspect of community, culture and music within the Montreal area with “Rockabilly 514”. The true reflections of the choices we make, the pleasures we are a part of and the terror of what the consequences may be with “Ceramic Tango” or the power of demons we carry and the aspects of life that we loose and have to cope with till end with “Serpent’s Lullaby”.

“Being a good director is knowing how to pick the good material,”
said Chica.

The 35 time film and television award winning creator continues to make a difference with film, art and the power to invoke. This was no different with the twisted and dark humour tale of justice, frights and irony in “A Tricky Treat”. Conceived originally as a segment of the 2015 “Blood Donation” PSA for the “Women in Horror” Movement, the tale originally called “Ripe N’ Bloody”, the short film packs a twisted message but overall it is three minutes of pure Halloween fun!

Joined for this short film by “800 LB. Guerilla Films” effects and makeup creator/artist Danny McCarthy, “A Tricky Treat” was another collaborative effort that has become a trademark of Chica’s work.

ATT@Chica added,

“Cinema is a collaborative art and you need to have that team around you.”

This is presented with the partnership that Chica has created with long time creative writing partner Kamal John Isklander who penned the original PSA segment and the full short film. The short film took Chica’s continuing body of creative, powerful and distinctive directive style in a twisted and unexpected direction.

Chica talked about how this idea had been in Isklander’s head for years,
“I love to tell a story with a strong message and a twist! He (Isklander) has such a dark humor type of style and the way he tells stories.”

Focusing on the aspect of a traditional family style Halloween in your cookie cutter house, Chica’s cast and crew set you up for something that is anything but the norm. Never seeing the smiling faces of this family but instead listening to their joyous voices and watching their comfortable movements, the father excuses himself to make sure that his work is done. With a change in feel, look and understanding, you find out what the families plans are to fully enjoy the witching season in the most disturbing and wicked way! Realizing the truth of this family and the idea that we have entered a bizarro world where the frightful holiday decorations take on a too human of a feel, Chica completes her tale of Halloween humor and the idea that traditions can make you lose your head.

Featuring effective and superb levels of practical and CGI effects, “A Tricky Treat” makes you feel like you are kid again watching a true Halloween film after spending a night out trick R treating. McCarthy talked about the freedom of the project,

“It was a dream come true. We could do our worst and bring it to life and I knew if I put the story in the brilliant hands like hers, it would funny, gory, dark and disgusting.”

ATT1The “Jack O’Lantern” is an especially a show piece as the process of picking it, slicing it open, gutting it and finally preparing it for the front stoop catches you off guard. Influenced by some of the horror effects and makeup masters like Tom Savini, McCarthy gave a heads up on the creation,

“Patricia wanted to see a good grin on it! I franksteined it together and through a wig on it as well as added some eyes.”

Chica continued talking about the reality of the carving,

“A throat cut, really looks like a throat cut. It is a collaboration. The whole concept of this was making the special FX realistic.” McCarthy picked up explain the idea of realism, “There had to be a realistic feel in the creation of the head. In our normal effects work we get the best and possible worst reference photos and experiences. It bring a realism and you have to know your anonymity and physiology. It is easy for us to capture those really human qualities such as the skin textures and features.”

“A Tricky Treat” is a rare piece of film where the aspect of misdirection, shadow and light really create some memorable effects to go along with both CGI and practical. According to Chica, the digital effects were part of a group effort that included artists from the Ukraine that had to be very calculated to fit the screen. Never really focusing for the most part on performance (except in a few small spots) which is much different then Chica’s previous works. For me, it works so well using the aspect of effects to harness tension and cultivate mystery which is essential to any Halloween cautionary tale. Knowing also that this short film was originally made for the PSA that was asking viewers to donate blood in very horrific, effective and humorous ways, shows the talent that Chica’s crew has on every level to grow this into a more developed story with visuals, score, light and sound. Hats off to everyone involved in this and Chica who continues to pump out quality genre bending projects in so many different roles and hitting such a variety of audiences at worldwide film festivals.






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