The Ice Cream Truck: A Review
by Luce Allan
The themes of youth and nostalgia are warped into terror and regret in The Ice Cream Truck (2017), in which a young woman moves back to her hometown and navigates her new suburban life-as well as her renewed yearning for her teenage years-while she waits for her out-of-state husband and children to join her in their new house. In the midst of her struggle to adapt to mundane suburbia, an old-fashioned ice cream truck lurks in the neighborhood, its sinister owner on the hunt for young blood to spill.
The Ice Cream Truck delivers intelligent humor and depth in both its plot and its characters. Deanna Russo commands attention with her complex performance as a smart and witty woman whose early entrance into motherhood and marriage has left her with a mounting desire to recover the youthful experiences that eluded her during adolescence. Emil Johnsen creates a striking villain in the Ice Cream Man, and his dedication to the character's antiquated language and mannerisms provides a stark and eerie contrast to the modern tone of the neighborhood and its inhabitants. Russo and Johnsen's characters serve as opposites, not only as the respective hero and villain, but as the metaphorical and literal interpretation of taking back the precious and fleeting opportunities of youth. The plastic, semi-Stepford representation of small-town suburbia is presented as an astute parody that is exaggerated without being too absurd, and is a perfect foil to Russo's grounded character. The soundtrack enhances the film, particularly the familiar ice cream truck jingle that pierces through the quiet nights and grows more distorted as the movie progresses.
While The Ice Cream Truck is, overall, a successful film, it may have benefited from more emphasis on the horror aspect of its plot. The pacing is a bit slow at times when the focus lingers too much on the more dramatic side of the film, while the horror side often feels too short in comparison. Even though the horror scenes are well-executed, the kills have more potential for creativity.
Overall, The Ice Cream Truck is an impressive horror film that stands out among many of its contemporaries, and shows substantial quality in its plot, characters, and acting, as well as some classic slasher fun.