Get ready to add Patrick Weaver to the list of horror film villains we love to hate. Patrick “Trick” Weaver is the name of the bloodthirsty boogeyman in the new horror film Trick. Hearkening back to the classic horror films of the seventies and eighties, Trick features a vengeful, seemingly superhuman adolescent out to terrorize the folksy denizens of Benton, a small, sleepy, permanently overcast upstate New York town. Luckily, the residents have Detective Mike Denver, played by beloved actor Omar Epps, to (try his damnedest) protect all of them.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen Epps do horror. “Dracula” was released in 2000 and “Scream 2” was released all the way back in 1997, but Epps’ performance in “Trick,” shows he is still well-suited for the slasher, horror genre. Denver is the heart and soul of the town and stops at nothing to capture the homicidal maniac who always seems to commit his dastardly deeds around Halloween time each year.
In an interview with the L.A. Sentinel, Epps revealed that he was drawn to the project, which is out in theaters, digital, and VOD October 18th, because he felt it would be a challenge. “This character was a challenge in that I had to keep the character grounded. I mean, we don’t know if what’s happening is supernatural or not. It’s like this surreal circumstance happening, and a man who basically loses himself trying to figure out the puzzle. That was challenging and that really attracted me to the project.”
The original “Friday The 13th,” “Nightmare On Elm Street,” and “The Exorcist” are the classic horror films Epps points to as the ones he enjoys the most. Mainly he says, “Because of the whole mythology around them and because they were similar to my life in some ways. I also went to summer camp so it was that art imitating life aspect.” Laughing at the recollection, he says, “I remember also being out in the woods with my friends at night and saying, ‘Hey what’s that noise?’” As for more contemporary horror films that raise his blood pressure, he looks to “Paranormal Activity” and the “Blair Witch” franchises. “I enjoy those a lot,” he says.
Everything is not what it seems in “Trick,” even by the standards of a classic horror film. In addition to dealing with the theme of fear, it presents the audience with a view of the dynamics of evil not usually seen in movies like these. Says Epps about the script, which was directed by Patrick Lussier (“The Purge”) “Patrick and I,” while we were filming, it got us thinking of how explosive society is right now with certain things happening and being normalized. It led to discussions about what a crazy world it is sometimes.”
In his own life, Epps deals with his existential fears by embracing them. “I’ve found in life,” he says “that victories have come when I harness and accepted that fear and use it as fuel to push me forward.”
The father of three admits that in terms of day-to-day living, what he is afraid of is guns; specifically, the type of weaponry, now too often in the news, used to wield mass destruction on innocent people and children. “The thing that scares me most right now is gun violence in our country. The mass shootings and things of that nature. The school shootings. That’s horrifying and disgusting. It’s something that we as a society as a whole, must figure out. That can’t become normal.”
Epps’ children are the ones who help him get into the spirit of horror movies and Halloween. “My kids are bigger on that stuff than I am so I celebrate it with them. My son is a huge horror fan. He just loves that stuff so we get into it with them. I don’t know yet what he plans on doing this year, but every year is different.”
Epps has wrapped Trick but as usual, stays booked and busy. He is currently prepping to film the highly anticipated Netflix movie, “Fatal Affair” with his Alfie co-star Nia Long, who is also producing the film.
Most recently Epps was seen on the hit NBC drama “This Is Us,” playing the father of a teen dad. Asked what that was like, he replied, “It’s interesting. Mainly we’re trying to tackle that issue in a real way, in an authentic way and in a caring and loving way in terms of adolescent pregnancy.” He also loves the overall message. “I love that the characters so far are a loving and supportive family who deal with life as it comes. That is a great message.”