Trim Season (2023) by The Critical Movie Critics

Movie Review: Trim Season (2023)

If you’re looking for a weed-centric horror film that will make the chillest of pastimes scary, Ariel Vida’s Trim Season may fill your need. After a mysterious murder/suicide leaves a pot plantation without trimmers, five young, down-on-their-luck people are invited to the rural forests of Northern California to work at, what turns out to be, the worst summer job imaginable.

While the movie starts off with an engagingly familiar hook — take lonely girls: Emma (Bethlehem Million, “Throuple”), Julia (Alex Essoe, “Death of Me”), Harriet (Ally Ioannides, “Jesus Revolution”), Lex (Juliette Kenn De Balinthazy) and Dusty (Bex Taylor-Klaus, “Blackbird”), isolate them and put them at the mercy of a cult-like family — it never truly forms into something more than its collective parts. Worse, these collective parts move at a glacial pace, inching forward for a payoff that only shows its hand late into the film’s 100-minute runtime. Patience, apparently, is key in this mostly shallow, slow-moving venture.

The thin layer of suspense, concocted by a quintet of mostly first time screenwriters (Ariel Vida, Cullen Poythress, David Blair, Megan Sutherland and Sean E. DeMott), is one that any horror movie lover can see through long before the gotcha is revealed. This is especially true since the owner of the weed farm, Mona (Jane Badler, “The Lies We Tell Ourselves”), is instantly recognizable as someone hiding a lot of secrets. But without going into spoilers I will say the reveal is executed well enough and that weed does thankfully play a large role in the overall narrative, just it’s much more of the chill strain than I think people would anticipate.

Because of the first half’s aggressively slow exposition, viewers are left to idly sit by and watch the paper-thin and equally motivated characters “grow” to know one another better. Emma, our main protagonist, is most skeptical of this obviously sketchy job but outside of that, she is hardly differentiated from the rest of the group which includes a non-binary character for the sake of having a non-binary character. Without a solid character arc throughout the story, we are stuck with one-note characters that would rarely make it past the first draft stage of a screenplay.

Putting the slow start and nondescript characters to the side, once the gore does finally start flowing, it’s extremely chunky and visceral. Some spooky lighting design also enhances the blood bath, making what we so long waited for that much more pleasing. For “stoner horror” (is this a horror subgenre?), it’s got some great weed motifs, but it takes much longer than it should to get to most of them. If you’re planning on lighting up before the film I recommend going easy as you might pass out long before the movie gets good.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
2 Star Rating: Bad


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