27th Jul2017

‘The Ice Cream Truck’ Review

by Nik Holman

Stars: Deanna Russo, Emil Johnsen, John Redlinger, Sam Schweikert, Hilary Barraford, Bailey Anne Borders, Dan Sutter, Dana Gaier | Written and Directed by Megan Freels Johnston

ice-cream-truck-poster

A struggling writer, Mary moves back to the quiet, suburban neighborhood where she grew up. Hoping that some isolation and a fresh change of scenery will unclog her writers’ block, Mary has arrived ahead of her husband and kids. In just two weeks Mary has to NOT sleep with the local pool boy, stop an ice cream truck driving serial killer, and write the great American novel.

My apologies, if any of that sounded exciting, that’s my fault. The Ice Cream Truck is like a tall glass of room temperature water. It’s neither hot or cold, but instead just a bland, tasteless experience with nothing to really offer except a thankfully short run time.

From the synth-heavy score, to the smattering of faint neon purple lighting, it drips with 80’s nostalgia that’s all the rage right now. That movie tricks you into thinking you might be in store for a loving tribute to the decade that amplified the slasher genre, but you will be sorely disappointed. With a whopping body count of 3, this horror flick forgot to be horrifying.

The Ice Cream Man has to be the friendliest, most diligent, if a little odd, slasher in any horror movie. He’s friendly to the local children. He’s a fantastic salesman but never pushes the upsell. He runs his truck 24/7. Near the end of the film, Mary and her boy-candy, Max, are flirting at a local park in the middle of the night. The Ice Cream Man rolls on by and treats them to dessert. Amazon can’t even offer that prompt of service. The only thing frightening about this guy is his unbeatable work ethic.

A main theme through the movie is Mary coming to terms with aging. She tries to dress young-ish. She smokes a little weed with some high school kids. She makes googly-eyes at Max. None of this really comes across as desperate because Deanna Russo is so young and attractive. She can’t be any older than her mid-thirties, so I never felt weird that she wanted to score some pot and hang out. All the other moms in the film are terrible people. There is never any reason for the women on her block to treat her with such open mistrust. Mary is a very friendly and kind woman. Why the vitriol? Other than because the script said so? Or maybe because she wanted to bang one of the moms’ children? Not really sure. I feel like whatever message about youth and ageing the movie was going for got lost somewhere around her wanting to commit adultery with a teenager.

But this is a horror movie, right? The only horror in The Ice Cream Truck is that Mary’s husband is married to an unfaithful woman. The Ice Cream Man does kill a couple of teens for reasons that are never made clear. Just jab a mixer into a kids’ eye, that will be fast. The Ice Cream Man is so good at his job that even the murders are quick and clean by serial killer industry standards.

That’s really all I need to say about this movie. It’s clean, antiseptically so. There is no grit. I wasn’t left feeling dirty by the end. My eyes hadn’t witnessed any terror. At no point in this film was I tense or frightened. I might have fallen asleep but couldn’t say because I didn’t miss anything. The acting is strong. The production is well done. The Ice Cream Truck is a nice looking movie, but like the ice cream being peddled onscreen, there’s no real substance to be found.

The Ice Cream Truck will be released in theaters and on VOD August 18th

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