They just don’t make movies like The Ice Cream Truck anymore; it’s as simple as that. This film didn’t need a massive budget, crazy special effects, or superstar power to be good, it just is. The movie harkens back to a simpler time not just in the American suburbs, but in horror movies themselves with peaceful neighborhoods packed full of nosey neighbors and a killer who could be guy next door. The Ice Cream Truck drives right on the edge of being unbelievable but never crosses that line.
It all starts when our heroine, Mary, a freelance writer, moves to her new home ahead of her husband and two children. Mary hasn’t had a night off from being a mother since her teenage son was born, so she is not sure what to do with herself. With a week before her family arrives, Mary starts hanging out with her neighbor’s recently graduated son and his friends, only they start to go missing and Mary has an uneasy feeling about the ice cream truck that circles her block.
You know right away that the ice cream man is a psycho because, in his first minute on screen, he says that plum raisin is his favorite ice cream flavor. Emil Johnsen does a great job at making the ice cream man strange but not going so far as to make a caricature of the character. I think the fact that the killer uses real weapons and not absurd sharpened ice cream scoops nails home the fact that he is not some over-the-top character but someone or something that could legitimately haunt your dreams. The gore in this film follows the suit of the setting and the killer in the fact that it is done in a subdued manner, unlike a lot of the boundary-pushing blood and guts of today’s horror cinema.
The one aspect of this film that I didn’t like and I believe hurts the overall score of the film is a strange ending. I think I know what they are alluding to, but the film really throws you a curve ball that they don’t even bother trying to explain. It is up for interpretation and could easily be interpreted in a number of ways, but I think the movie would have been much better served with a solid ending that did not leave audiences questioning the validity of the entire film.
Apart from that admittedly important part of the film, I have absolutely no qualms with The Ice Cream Truck. I think that a lot of filmmakers, both in the genre and outside of it, could take a page out of this movie’s book and take a more simplistic route. The movie is not lacking in substance in the least bit, it just doesn’t try to cram a carnival of colors, sounds, and blurry screen shots down your throat. I would have to say that, though this is far from a perfect movie, I would definitely watch it again and recommend it without question to those looking for a fresh take on an old classic.
The Ice Cream Truck arrives in select theaters and VOD August 18, 2017.