Ice Cream Truck, The - Uncork'd Entertainment
Written by Jay Creepy   
Tuesday, 05 December 2017
Severed Cinema Review of The Ice Cream Truck from Uncork'd Entertainment


BUY THE ICE CREAM TRUCK

Directed by: Megan Freels Johnston
Written by: Megan Freels Johnston
Produced by: Yumee Jang, Megan Freels Johnston, Omid Shamsoddini.
Cinematography by: Stephen Tringali
Editing by: Eric Potter
Music by: Michael Boateng
Special Effects by: Grant Benjamin Leibowitz, Victoria Arias
Cast: Deanna Russo, Emil Johnsen, John Redlinger, Hilary Barraford, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Bailey Anne Borders
Year: 2017
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 1hr 28mins

Studio: Look At Me Films
Distributor: Uncork'd Entertainment

Some films are just born to be eerie and carefully rendered as a creepy piece of work. The Ice Cream Truck has its downfalls here and there, but it has the appearance of one of the classics of suburban slaughter cinema -- A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween -- this one surely is inspired by those and others as the camera pans downwards and everything seems to move so slowly, like a dream in a sleepy neighbourhood. Plus, tinkering keyboard music menaces you. Hell, we can pretend it's the mid to late ‘80s, for shits and giggles! Unfortunately, the built-up tension doesn't last and the sense of dread is as good as gone by the thirty-minute mark.

We meet, Mary, a lady recently back in her old home territory and walking down her garden to pick up the rather soaked newspaper. A weirdly odd ice cream man waves to her from his van. The style of filming had me thinking back to the original Phantasm. Lost in her head, because of this, she's suddenly sprayed by a hosepipe. The Mom struggles to get her blonde lil' asshole brat of a lad to apologise. Mary explains to her neighbour, Jessica, that she's alone in the house ‘til her hubby and the kids arrive from Seattle. She's also a freelance writer. At this point, I couldn't decide if Hilary Barraford, who plays Jessica, is simply a bad actress having trouble speaking, or if the character is meant to come over like a throwback to the ‘50s cigarette and kitchen adverts from the USA.

Afterwards, Mary speaks on the phone to her husband. She wasn't impressed by Jessica either. Additionally she mentions her surprise regarding the ice cream truck (“I felt like I was in a time warp.”), and the occupant being creepy. Does America not have ice cream trucks much nowadays? We have vans in the UK. Anyway, the conversation truly outstays its welcome, like a guest who takes a dump in your toilet first visit -- then doesn't flush! There's a knock at the door. It's a Nick Cave lookalike with some furniture to drop off. This bloke is sleazy and suggestive -- hence the menacing music again. He doesn't think twice on entering a room as she changes her wet top. Not even a “Blimey! Sorry missus,” he's like it's an everyday thing.

“Hello, new neighbour!” bleats Jessica and two other Stepford Wives who all pop ‘round to smile and invite her to a party. They leave and the delivery guy talks stoner-slow and Mary is getting rather nervous. Suggestive. What a beastly man. Feels like I'm watching the visual version of a bloke-hating woman's magazine.

Over at the party, she's invited to get high by a couple of teens, Max and Tracy. After a smoke, she thinks she can hear that ice cream van somewhere in the night. Mary is very over-the-top stoned due to one pathetic inhalation of a spliff. My God! Max pops off to cut the cake at the party. Tracy finishes her beer and suddenly the ice cream van pulls up to the kerbside. Tracy asks for an ice cream bar. He explains that he's a purist, nothing too fancy. “This is the real deal.” he promises. “Rum raisin is my favourite.” he says as she enters the van. “It's more of an old fashioned flavour. But then again, I am an old fashioned guy.” Then he closes the door and Tracy doesn't get her ice cream yet her corpse has a flickering eye.

“Could have sworn I left the lights on.” mumbles Mary, as she returns home. The power is off. We glimpse the ice cream man outside in the darkness but she finds nothing and nobody.

The next morning whilst out for a jog, Mary picks up a flower pin which belonged to Tracy off the road. In the meantime she's finding time to shock Jessica. Max strolls around with his buddies to do chores and bring a bag of skunk. He mentions that Tracy has gone AWOL, probably mad at him for a few reasons. Max is really liking Mary. One vacates his duties to go and see his girl.

“You know, some things in life are sacred. The ice cream truck is one.” says our man to him. He explains that he's always in character so it's special for the kids. This reminds me of a fella I used to know who ran his own Punch and Judy show around parks in my city. Great chap. He even spoke in the exact voice away from his work whilst you conversed with him. I think he didn't realise that he did it -- or he was totally insane. Similar to the guy in this film. So the scene leads to a home invasion double slaying -- with an ice cream scoop.

The movie drifts on. Max and Mary get closer but she resists him, obviously due to the fact she's waiting for hubby, etcetera. She keeps hearing the ice cream truck theme. Later on our couple rendezvous to a play park at night and create the beast with two backs. Then the Ice Cream Man arrives.

Look, it is refreshing to have a film which has a slow-paced swaying quality. It doesn't want to rush about and its content to chilled-out but give us some murders! Unfortunately the characters are as cold as ice (pardon the pun) and a lot of the writing either pointless or predictable. Everybody is basically as uninvolved as possible, like it was done on purpose. No explanations for why the population of that area happen to be so muted or cloned.

It is well filmed, however, and the musical score is probably the greatest thing existing in its shell. I assume the point of all of this comes down to the fact Mary is a real person with real issues, whilst the population of suburbia is hollow. Mary has the half eyes closed smirk which is usually carried by long term weed smokers who believe they are far beyond the rest of the human race in intelligence and seeing reality, wherein the truth is they are just smoking weed, end of story.

The delivery guy is Jeff Daniels Phillips of Westworld (the series) Rob Zombie's 31 and Lords of Salem. He does a good job. Deanna (Being Human, Burning Love) Russo, as Mary, has one solitary expression throughout and was a disappointment. In fact, the soulless Ice Cream Man, portrayed by Emil (Corridor, Ego) Johnsen has far more pull as a lead talent.

Naturally there's a surprise ending which isn't much of a surprise. More like a shrug and a “God, probably means there'll be a sequel. How nice.” exclamation. As a matter of fact, a comment by the director naming a possible part two kind of gives away some of the ending.

I'm sure that creator, Megan Freels Johnston, is very chuffed about her film. I figure I got the point of her vision, but I wasn't impressed. Like I said, though, wonderfully filmed, but so it ends right there.

 

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 RATING:
 MOVIE: 1 
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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 05 December 2017 )