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‘TRIM SEASON’ Movie Review: Ariel Vida Concocts a Potent Combo of Dark Humor and Shrewdly Crafted Shocks

Synopsis: A group of young people head to a remote marijuana farm in the hopes of making some fast cash. Instead, the estate owner’s dark secrets soon emerge, leaving them scrambling to escape the dense woods with their lives.

Trim Season falls into the category of “stoner horror,” a subgenre of horror films that centers around cannabis as the main plot element. This genre includes poorly made movies such as the Charles Band-produced series, Evil Bong, known for their subpar writing, acting, and direction. However, Ariel Vida (Vide Noir), a production designer turned director who previously worked on The Endless and Something in the Dirt, delivers a dark, humorous, and fun sophomore feature.

Emma (Bethlehem Million – Sick, “And Just Like That…”) has just been fired from her job and is about to be evicted from her home. Struggling actress and best friend Julia (Alex Essoe – Starry Eyes, “Midnight Mass”) decides to take her out on a bar crawl to cheer her up. They meet a friend named Pua, who introduces them to James (Marc Senter – The Free Fall, Blackout), who recruits them for two weeks of work in the ‘Emerald Triangle’ where the hours are long, but the pay is excellent. Later, they meet up with three others – Harriett (Ally Ioannides – Synchronic), Dusty (Bex Taylor-Klaus – “Scream”), and Lex (Juliette Kenn De Balinthazy (“Evil”) – before departing to a remote mountain location.

Alarm bells ring early as Emma questions why they have to leave their cars behind, but keen to earn some fast cash and get high, they still head off to the plantation where armed guards greet them along with the unsettling matriarch of the operation, Mona, played with great relish by Jane Badler who found fame in the ’80s tv classic “V”; here resplendent in 1920’s/30’s style outfits complete with gloves and pearls. Dinner is enjoyed over which strict rules are laid down and the girls get to party before the hard work starts.

The plot thickens with each new turn, until at last someone takes advantage of an extremely potent combination of marijuana that causes genuine bloodshot eyes, a backstory that starts in Carpathia, witches, and plant food that would give Alan Titchmarsh nightmares.

Vida’s leisurely pacing deftly builds suspense throughout the first hour before the film’s climactic final act features striking moments with vibrant reds and a harrowing set piece involving with a shard of broken glass that will have viewers cringing.

Ultimately, though, the film’s true strength lies in its female supporting cast and diverse representation. Essoe again proves to be a vital onscreen presence alongside Badler, who plays Mona with apparent joy. That said, there is a weak link in Emma and that’s no fault of Million who gives it her best, but whose character simply fails to register with the viewer.

Despite any minor issues, Trim Season is an entertaining shocker and dare I say, a standout in its field. Now, pass the joint!

VERDICT:

Trim Season releases in theaters and On Demand this June 7th, 2024

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