For many, growing old is a real life horror story. And just as a magical elixir or fountain that restores ones youth is a staple of folklore, so has rapid aging become the center of films like THE HUNGER or PHANTOM OF DEATH and now it’s at the core of THE ICE CREAM TRUCK, the new film from Megan Freels Johnston (REBOUND and granddaughter of novelist Elmore Leonard).
Mary (Deanna Russo MARY HORROR) has just moved back to the suburb she grew up in, getting ready for her husband and kids to join her after school finishes. After an unsettling encounter with a mover (Jeff Daniel Phillips 31, LORDS OF SALEM) she begins to settle in and try to deal with her writer’s block. She also attracts the attention of recent high school grad Max (John Redlinger THIRST) and the driver of the titular truck (Emil Johnsen). As Mary and Max draw closer more people disappear and they seem to be next on the list.
THE ICE CREAM TRUCK has a weird structure that will divide audiences. It’s hard to tell if it was meant to be drama with horror elements or a horror film who’s dramatic core took over. It’s not a bad film by any means but those expected a full on slasher film may find it a bit on the dull side as it explores Mary’s midlife crisis and dealings with her Stepford Wives like neighbors. Those that like a bit more plot to their splatter should find it more interesting as the various threads all come together.
Emil Johnsen deserves special notice for his portrayal of the villian., (that’s not a spoiler, you see him take his first victim early in the film). Looking like he stepped out of the 1950’s with his bow tie and ancient truck. His silent, physically nonthreatening but creepy appearance is quite unnerving.
One thing that does hurt the film however is the casting of the two leads. Both are excellent in their parts but they look much to close in age for the supposed MILF/teen relationship angle. Russo certainly looks like a hot suburban mom, if a little younger than the 30 something she’s supposed to be. Redlinger on the other hand looks more like her younger brother than somebody who just graduated high school. It really takes the edge off of what is meant to be a major plot point.
The Ice Cream Truck will be released in theaters and on VOD via Uncork’d Entertainment and those with a taste for some drama mixed with their scares should consider checking it out.