“Trim Season”

This movie was screened at Panic Fest.

The gruesome shocker of an opening scene is almost all that director Ariel Vida‘s “Trim Season” has going for it, and it’s all downhill from there. With a kickoff like that, it makes the rest of the sluggish film seem even slower than it actually is. I don’t want to hear any of that “but it’s a slow burn!” talk: if a movie is unhurried to the point it’s no longer entertaining, then it’s not a success. Horror fans are going to be disappointed with just about everything up until the bloodbath of a finale, which is teeming with plenty of gore, carnage, and supernatural violence. 

In this stoner folk horror story, recently unemployed Emma (Bethlehem Million) is in desperate need of rent money. When she and her best friend Julia (Alex Essoe) learn about a lucrative temporary job working on a marijuana farm, they see it as a chance to make some quick cash. The women sign up to become plant trimmers, but when they learn that the remote location of the fields and their new workplace is a creepy cabin in the woods, concerns begin to grow. After meeting their new coworkers and the big boss Mona (Jane Badler), it’s clear something isn’t right. Julia and Emma uncover the location’s dark secrets and must find a way to escape the mountain and its deadly history before it consumes them all.   

The film is wide open to interpretation, which feels passive and lazy. There’s a ton of obnoxiously glaring symbolism too, which comes across like a film school project gone wrong. I suppose some of the ideas raised about female empowerment and gender assumptions are at least thoughtful (one of the actors, Bex Taylor-Klaus, and their character is nonbinary, and representation in films is commendable), but the more intriguing concepts are lost. 

There are some haunting visuals that are striking, but the atmospheric lighting and overall mood just isn’t enough to salvage the film. The story is sparse and the performances are stiff. The supernatural mystery elements work decently with the horror-minded narrative, but the ending somehow manages to be both frustrating and polarizing, which is far from a magic combination.  

The film’s bookends will appease horror fans, and there’s a lot of bloody gore (especially at the end). The problem is that the plot is too long and drawn out, the pacing is sluggish, the dialogue is boring, and the character development is stagnant. The majority of “Trim Season” is insufferable.

By: Louisa Moore

One comment

  1. As one of the producers I think you have totally missed the point of the film. We spent endless hours working through every detail and I can promise you there was nothing lazy about our approach . We all worked our butts off. The perfomances were beautiful. It was horror fantasy with a heart…..I am sorry you didnt appreciate all our efforts but did want to correct you on your word lazy… The film is creative, arty and a departure from the usual low budget arthouse feature. I do hope people will check it out and see what you all think …..


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