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‘The Ice Cream Truck’ (review)

Produced by Omid Shamsoddini,
Yumee Jang, Megan Freels Johnston
Written and Directed by
Megan Freels Johnston
Starring Deanna Russo, Emil Johnsen,
John Redlinger, Sam Schweikert,
Hilary Barraford, Bailey Anne Borders,
Jeff Daniel Phillips, Dan Sutter,
Dana Gaier, Lisa Ann Walter

 

Deanna Russo portrays Mary, a writer who moves back to her suburban hometown. She is staying in her new home for a short time alone, awaiting the arrival of her husband and two children.

Mary is almost immediately set upon by her annoying, nosy neighbors, exuding sunniness but barely masking their judgmental derision of her.

Still, they ARE neighborly, so Mary is invited to a neighbor’s son’s high school graduation party.

While there, Mary surprises herself by sharing a joint with said son and his girlfriend, thus beginning a fumbling-for-her-youth mission which starts to spiral downward.

Meanwhile, a creepy, throwback ice cream truck – and its nearly omnipresent jingle – canvases the neighborhood…

The Ice Cream Truck feels a bit like two separate movies stitched together: a satiric tale of a woman who had a child just out of high school and now wants to relive her teen years within the gossipy confines of suburbia, and a low-budget slasher film.

The film is actually rather interesting throughout, thanks to the odd structure of the script and combination of seemingly disparate elements of several genres.

Mary’s descent into adolescence is believable, even though there were a few moments of character motivation I didn’t quite buy. Still, Mary is brought to vivid life by Russo, who is perfectly cast as a beautiful, sexy woman (fittingly, in a girl-next-door way) who is quite conflicted about family life. I’ve never seen Russo in anything before, but she’s extremely good here.

The supporting cast is also solid, and the film has an amusing synthesizer score.

My only real problem with the film is I didn’t feel the two story threads came together in a satisfying way. I don’t want to say anything more, as spoilers would ensue.

Also, it should be noted that viewers looking for a scary, straightforward horror flick will likely be let down. But adventurous viewers who enjoy dramas with horror elements, and don’t need to have everything spoon-fed to them, may find quite a bit to like about The Ice Cream Truck.

 

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

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