Trim Season Poster

Trim Season (2023) Review

I’m old enough to remember when they used to tell you that smoking pot would lead to Reefer Madness style debauchery and death. Well, in the case of the strain being grown in Trim Season, they might actually be right to call it the weed with its roots in Hell.

Trim Season opens with two women stabbing themselves to death in what is obviously the trim house at a grow op. But it doesn’t look like a typical suicide, they seem to be fighting it, as if their bodies were being compelled against their will. The smoke from the joint one of them was smoking fills the frame before become steam from an overheated car radiator. That overheated radiator makes Emma (Bethlehem Million, Throuple, Sick) late for work, which gets her fired.

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Out of cash and out of options, she and her friend Julia (Alex Essoe, Death of Me, The Pope’s Exorcist) accept an offer from James (Marc Senter, Blackout, The Devil’s Carnival) a friend of a friend who can get them a job at an isolated pot farm run by Mona (Jane Badler, V, Surrogate), and her sons Christopher (Cory Hart, Fear the Walking Dead, Queen of the South) and Malcolm (Ryan Donowho, Beyond Paranormal, Soldiers of Fortune). A couple of weeks trimming the crop to get it ready for sale, and they could make several thousand dollars cash. It almost sounds too good to be true.

Director Ariel Vida (Vide Noir, Wrath Kills) and co-writer David Blair (The Sighting, Your Musical is Cancelled: The Musical!) spend most of Trim Season’s first half hour introducing them as well as the farm’s other trimmers, Lex (Juliette Kenn De Balinthazy, Evil) who is unable to feel pain due to a medical condition, Harriet (Ally Ioannides, The Nameless Days, Into the Badlands) and Dusty (Bex Taylor-Klaus, Hell Fest, Voltron: Legendary Defender) who identifies as non-binary.

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While it is somewhat slow going, they do a good job of letting the viewer get to know everyone so that when the bodies begin to drop there’s a connection to them, making their deaths more than merely a jump scare or impressive effect. It helps that while not all of the trimmers are great people, even the worst of them aren’t instantly hateable either. They’re also all well played by a fairly strong cast.

Somewhat frustratingly, the one we don’t learn much about, is Mona. Granted, even if she wasn’t played by an actress best known as V’s Queen Bitch, it’s obvious from the first time we see her that whatever is going on she’s behind it. By the time someone meet a particularly nasty end after smoking some of her special stash, there’s no doubt. But even after we get an explanation, there are still a few too many questions left unanswered, most notably how she came by her powers in the first place.

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That doesn’t stop the last half hour from being tense and bloody as the survivors try to escape in the face of threats both human and supernatural. Kelly Donahue (Hunting Ava Bravo, V/H/S/99) delivers some nasty practical effects, including a painful looking dismemberment with a piece of broken glass. Cinematographer Luka Bazeli (Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman, Student Body) does as well at capturing these as he does at delivering beautiful trippy looking shots earlier in the film. He also gets a lot of milage out of the altar production designer Kati Simon (Destroy All Neighbours, The World Ender) came up with for Trim Season’s climax.

Overall, Trim Season is a solidly crafted film, that’s both effectively creepy and frequently beautiful to look at. As mentioned, the cast does a good job in their roles, with Esso giving her usual excellent performance, while Badler and Million also stand out. And despite the plot, this isn’t a film to see under the influence. Unlike Full Moon’s various THC infused horror films, Trim Season plays it straight, and that’s how you should watch it.

Blue Harbor Entertainment will release Trim Season in theatres as well as to Digital and VOD Platforms on June 7th.

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