The Ice Cream Truck

Mary moves back to her suburban hometown, to find that the suburbs are scarier in more ways than she ever remembered.

The Ice Cream Truck is not a good film. This supposed story of married woman, Mary (Deanna Russo) left to her own devices during a family move to suburbia is a plodding mess of ideas, pacing, and believability. The first signs of trouble come when Mary first meets her next-door neighbor Jessica (Hilary Barraford). During a causal first greeting we endure awkward pauses and stretches of unspoken dialogue that are meant to infer a more sinister underbelly to the perfect world Mary thought she moved into. No such luck. Nothing pays off and nothing connects. But please, let’s continue. Surely it has to get better. (Spoiler alert…)

“…what is that 50s-style ice cream truck doing in the neighborhood?”

But wait, what is that 50s-style ice cream truck doing in the neighborhood? The one operated by the Ice Cream Man (Emil Johnsen) in the movie’s only remotely interesting turn. Oh don’t pay attention to him yet.

Mary then meets with the other brightly dressed Stepford wives led by matriarch Christina (Lisa Ann Walter) who invites her over to celebrate her son’s high school graduation at a neighborhood get together. Fine. We are also introduced to the creeper Delivery Man (Jeff Daniel Phillips) who offers long, lingering stares at Mary as she goes about her business in an empty home.

STOP! Okay. Who or what are we supposed to be afraid of and when are we gonna have a reason to give a shit?

So Mary decides to head over to the neighborhood get together and actually runs into the birthday boy himself, Max (John Redlinger really pushing the age barrier on high school senior verisimilitude) and Max’s girlfriend Tracy (Bailey Anne Borders). Being the wise newcomer that Mary is, she goes ahead and shares a joint with the two 18 year olds before heading to the party. Oh my god I hate her.

“…the suburbs are scarier in more ways than she ever remembered.”

After the basic relationships and scene are set up, our quasi-titular character, the Ice Cream Man, finally starts picking people off. THANK GOD. He moves in a very methodical, slow pace that makes you question how he ever catches up to his running victims.

The plot meanders depicting Mary’s increasingly debauched doings in the neighborhood while popping back over to see some idiot talking to the creepy ice cream man before getting a double scoop of death. We are never really given rules as to why this killer confectionary does what he does. We are never offered a moral compass from our protagonist to understand what might mean danger or safety. No the movie decides to reside in a lazy dream-like world where there are no real outcomes to anything, much less a plot to hold on to.

I wanted the story to come together. I wanted the bigger villain to be the creepy collection of characters that populate this quaint berg, greeting Mary with a cold awkwardness. The polished production values fool me and I stuck with the movie thinking there was a greater meaning and craftsmanship to what was happening. I was hoping for a greater meaning. In the end it would have been more interesting to watch ice cream melt in the summer sun than watch this flick.

The Ice Cream Truck (2017) Directed by: Megan Freels Johnston Written by: Megan Freels Johnston, Staring: Deanna Russo

The Ice Cream Truck is not worth the time (*).

* Norm’s Rating System: Full Price (****), Matinee (***), VOD (**), Don’t Bother (*) 

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