WIHM: DAY #3 THE ICE CREAM TRUCK
This comedy horror is a sly one and when you watch it you may not think much of it. You might think, it feels like there’s some awkward overacting going on here, or not enough substance to keep this messy plot straight. At one point you might even say out loud, “Why should I care!?” Don’t worry, its there. You just have to stick it out.
In the opening sequence there’s a continuation of suburban homes in the San Fernando Valley juxtaposed with sinister synth music emulating the notion an ice cream truck is about to invade an innocent-looking small neighborhood. In classic, impeding horror fashion it sets the tone quite nicely. What’s really fun is how a 1950s ice cream truck just suddenly appears. At this point we’re introduced to Mary, who has just moved into a new home which is a town she grew up in, the only problem is her family is still in Seattle. She went ahead of them to setup camp, essentially. With that being said, the neighbors emerge and greet her in making her feel welcome by inviting her to a graduation party.
Seeing the expression on Mary’s face you can tell she’s bored but also intelligent. The conflict at hand is how does this blend with the story being told? Remember the ice cream truck? Yeah, there’s actually a reason for its existence. And what kicks this off is the night of the graduation party, when the first victim runs down the ice cream man without knowing what flavor she wants. This is not good. It also makes no sense why this character is killed, but it’s a horror film so roll with it. Not everything is meant to make sense at least, initially. Again, you have to watch this until the very end to get an understanding of what the filmmaker is doing with this story. Its cheeky.
Without further explanation and without blowing the spoiler, you have to keep your eye on Mary because she is the key to everything. Listen to the dialogue despite how awkward and banal it may feel. Stick with it until the end. Trust me. It’ll be worth it.
There are some notable scenes where the ice cream truck killer is very tranquil and not always consistent in his MO of killing his victims. Whether the person is rude or just oblivious, the killer seems to strike whenever and the only frustrating part is not understanding the why. There’s no clear origin of this character. Its’ as if it he was created out of thin air. So why the filmmaker leaves that as is, is somewhat a frustrating choice, but again stick with it.
Mary hits it off with the neighbor’s son, Max so much so they scurry off onto the playground to have a quickie. A lot of this world feels like a high school-like symposium of ephemeral fantasy. Short-lived, instant gratification, and just foolishness to the rational mind of anyone, but again its part of the fun in what makes this a horror comedy. Not so much the harsh killings laced in an innocent treat of a man ice cream but of something far more intelligent.
So if you succeed to the ending of this journey you’ll surely understand what I imagine is the intent of filmmaker, Megan Freels Johnston. The blatant imagination of the mind has plenty to work with in terms of paying homage to 80s-slasher films. Think about Mary’s time and who she is as a character contributing to a somewhat fictional story of her environment. Look deep. Look hard. It’s there.