The Ice Cream Truck possibly could have been a better film if it stuck to one genre. A thriller featuring a flirty May/December romance competing with a standard slasher horror film makes for a bad combination. In fairness, neither is particularly interesting, but overcompensating wasn’t the best choice either.
Mary (Deanna Russo) has arrived early at her new home ahead of her husband and kids. Director/Writer Megan Freels-Johnston doesn’t explain why Mary, a freelance writer, needed to leave early while her kids finish school.
That main purpose might be so Mary can have a midlife crisis when Max (John Redlinger), a muscular college freshman, starts flirting with her.
Of course there’s the little matter of the weirdo (Emil Johnsen) running around in a vintage ice cream truck killing people. Good thing no one seems remotely suspicious of him or wonder about the rash of missing teenagers. The truck driver doesn’t have much of a motive beyond being a random horror movie creep.
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Mary makes a lot of frustrating horror movie decisions. She acts like a stupid character in a horror movie doing silly things for the sole point of getting killed. Whether walking along deserted roads, answering doors without checking or changing clothes around a skeevy-looking furniture mover Mary may as well wear a Kill Me T-shirt.
That’s a problem overall with the film. Characters make idiotic choices to drive the story forward instead of decisions resembling any semblance of sense.
Expecting high quality acting in a limited release film is silly, but the script demands a certain chemistry with Mary and Max and Russo and Redlinger don’t deliver. On her own, Russo is fine playing the prototype horror movie female lead. Redlinger struggles trying to be the kind of effortless teen that would win over a woman twice his age. Johnsen won’t be mistaken for Freddy Krueger and it’s almost silly that anyone would be intimidated by him.
There’s a lot of extended conversation scenes with alternating shots on just the character speaking. Rarely does Freels-Johnston use wide shots to have both characters on screen, which undercuts these moments as the interactions seem like they were shot at different times. Michael Boateng’s score hits all the throwback tension raising elements, but with so few payoffs, it starts to lose its effectiveness.
Freels-Johnston deserves some credit for trying to do something different and with a clearer focus, this could have been fun. The Ice Cream Truck sprinkles in some twists to a familiar genre, but it’s not enough to make for a sweet watch.
Rating: 4 out of 10
Photo Credit: Uncork’d Entertainment