Imagine fancying a nice taste of cold Ice Cream on a hot sunny day, and finding that there is only Ice Cream Truck left in your area and to your horror the only flavour they have left is Fish…..That’s how you feel at the end of this oddity…..
This horror starts with a great tease. A nice shot of houses and cars, with a stretch of road in the middle, alongside a synth beat that makes you feel like you are all set to watch something inspired by the work of the legend that is John Carpenter.
Yes, if you are going into a horror film with a title called “The Ice Cream Truck“, then lets be honest, you are not expecting to be blown away and while a murderous serial killer disguised as man who sells iced flavoured cream to the neighbourhood seems quite odd, its not the first time we have been down this route, with the memorable Ron Howard 1995 entry The Ice Cream Man, that has somehow, despite its awfulness, has gained a cult following over the years.
One of my favourite things of being a horror fan is spreading the word of titles like these, which get mocked by many fans, but underneath the massive amount of VOD entries, there are some quality ones on offer, a few that even put the more bigger box-office titles to shame.
I had high hopes that this entry from director and writer Megan Freels Johnston will add to the list of ones to shout out about, but sadly, despite it looking gorgeous, with the ominous tones from composer Michael Boateng, offering a proper old fashioned Slash vibe, Johnston commits the biggest sin you can make within a horror film, in that it totally forgets to be a horror film.
In some bizarre twist that will infuriate the horror crowd, what we are watching is basically a deep rooted drama of a woman, struggling to adapt to a new start and at the prospect of getting older. Not quite, the grab to entice us for a blood shed is it?
Mary (Deanna Russo) has just moved back into her hometown after years away, with her family joining up in a weeks time. Already she has a creepy vibe off the old fashioned style Ice Cream Truck that slowly drives past her house, with an equally creepy bow-tied driver (Emil Johnson), at the wheel, with an ice cold smile that probably keeps his main selling goods more than frozen at the back of his truck.
The fact that this scene happens in the first five minutes and then we have to wait until at least the half hour mark before we discover that this man is a deranged serial killer, shows the lack of scares on offer, more so as we then have to wait until the staggering last ten minutes, to get any resemblance of a slasher. Its like for the majority of the time, everyone involved has forgotten what they are making and its only towards the end, that they suddenly remember and think “Oh shit! We better add some horror, just for it to sell”
Most of the film is of Mary, walking around in a daze, missing her single life, contemplating getting old and getting chattered up by Max (John Redlinger) a high school graduate who laughably looks like he is hitting thirty, which is the only chuckle you get from this dire film. There is one particular scene where Mary is just laying there, reading a magazine, it may only be for a minute, but it felt like an added hour onto to the running time and I started to wish the Ice Cream Truck would pull outside my house and put me out of my misery.
From starting like this was going to be a Halloween inspired cheapie, instead what we get is a romantic, forbidden love story that you would normally find on The Hallmark Channel, with the supposed “bogeyman” making a fleeting appearance and killing hardly no one, with the main kill, hardly causing a ripple for Slash fans who in no doubt will be sitting there with their mouth open, wondering what they heck they are watching.
I hate criticising films that have clearly been made with affection from all those involved and there is some high quality to the way it looks, but you shouldn’t really sell yourself as a horror film, more so as a Slasher, when there is nothing of note, apart from a few odd minutes which even then fails miserably to get the juices flowing.
Much like the vehicle on show, The Ice Cream Truck is a dated, creaky and an old rusty flick that badly needs a service and as for that “final twist!”….I am still waiting for M Night to respond to my calls to explain to me, as I still can’t fathom what it means, but to be honest, I’d rather lick a Fish Flavoured Ice Cream which has been dipped into a Brussel Sprouts sauce, to ever have the need to re-watch this, to understand what the heck it all meant!