★★★1/2 out of ★★★★★
🩸🩸🩸 out of 🩸🩸🩸🩸🩸 for supernatural carnage
Marijuana trimmers find themselves smack dab in the middle of some occult goings-on in this well-paced chiller.
Directed by Ariel Vida
If you normally take a pass on films that initially may sound like a stoner-targeted story, don’t make that mistake with director Ariel Vida’s strong feature Trim Season. Though it is set within the marijuana industry in northern California’s Emerald Triangle, the film eschews stoner cliches in favor of a solid dose of supernatural fear fare.
Emma (Bethlehem Million) is down on her luck, having just been fired from her job and being far enough behind in rent that she gets kicked out of her living space. Consoled by her good friend Julia (Alex Essoe), the pair meet an acquaintance who introduces them to James (Marc Senter), who offers them a seasonal job as marijuana trimmers. Emma reluctantly goes along with the idea out of financial desperation, and the two friends share a van ride with James and three other trimmers, Harriet (Ally Ioannides), Lex (Juliette Kenn De Balinthazy), and Dusty (Bex Taylor-Klaus) to the secluded farm run by Mona (Jane Badler), who is assisted by her two sons.
In fine horror movie tradition, one of the group members ignores the strictest of rules insisted upon by Mona, and the proceedings kick off toward high macabre gear. Isolated far from civilization and with their ride not set to return for days, the trimmers find themselves in deadly danger of both the physical and occult varieties.
Million is impressive as the protagonist, a young woman who finds herself in a place she never expected to be, against her better judgment. The always impressive Essoe (Starry Eyes, Homewrecker) turns in an excellent performance as her more fearless friend, and the two actors display great chemistry together. The supporting players all give fine turns, with Badler displaying fun villainous chops.
Vida does terrific work at the helm, pacing the proceedings at a rapid clip and upping the suspense and stakes in an absorbing manner. Trim Season is a crackerjack surprise chiller that fans of supernatural scare-fare should have a blast watching.
Review by Joseph Perry
Trim Season screened as part of Overlook Film Festival, which took place March 30–April 2, 2023 in New Orleans.
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