Trim Season: A Terrifying Journey Into the Dark Secrets

Trim Season, A Horror Movie Review by Hope Madden

Trim Season

trim season horror movie

A group of young people go to a remote marijuana farm where they hope to make quick cash, but they discover the location’s dark secrets and must try to escape the mountain on which they are trapped.

Director: Ariel Vida

A fine blend of supernatural chiller, cabin-in-the-woods horror, ecological thriller and cautionary tale, Trim Season may be the first weed-based horror film that doesn’t go for laughs.

Emma (Bethlehem Million) needs purpose. She needs direction. She needs cash. Emma just lost her restaurant job, and she owes her roommate months of back rent. Her lifelong BFF Julia (Alexandra Essoe, Starry Eyes, The Pope’s Exorcist) pays for a night out to lift her spirits. There, new buddy James (Marc Senter, not subtle) talks them into a two-week, high pay seasonal gig trimming cannabis out in the wilds.

Emma knows better but her options are limited, so off she goes.

Co-writer/director Ariel Vida mines drug-fueled, dreamy, out-of-control territory where better horror films have blossomed: Mandy, Hagazussa, Lovely Molly. Vida overlays nightmarish images with smoke haze and bleary audio just often enough to conjure a nightmarish high that is, of course, more nightmare than high.

Trim Season’s opening is especially enjoyable. Vida captures a verdant, primal quality to the prologue that both sets the stage and delivers real horror. Though the balance of the film never fully lives up to that splashy intro, it keeps your interest.

Million and Essoe deliver solid performances, as do Ally Ioannides and Juliette Kenn De Balinthazy as two other doomed trimmers. Cory Hart, playing the hot headed eldest son to the villainous matriarch Mona (Jane Badler), skillfully anchors every scene he’s in.

Some plotting conveniences limit the ability to suspend disbelief and Badler’s campy villain lacks depth. It’s unfortunate, because it’s Trim Season’s juiciest part but the delivery is superficially sinister at best. The situation is exacerbated by the third act reveal. Because the film’s mythology is never more than hinted at, the climax feel a bit unsatisfying.

Still, there’s a lot to recommend Trim Season. Luka Bazeli’s cinematography is both lush and claustrophobic, tapping simultaneously into a wonder and terror of the woods. Some of the horror imagery is impressive as well. And Vida takes the subject matter seriously, which is itself a refreshing change of pace.  

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  • Hope Madden

    ope Madden, a graduate of The Ohio State University, is an author and filmmaker.In addition to 12 years at the independent weekly newspaper The Other Paper, Hope has written for Columbus Monthly Magazine, The Ohio State University Alumni Magazine, and is a published poet. Her first novel, Roost, is out now, as is the anthology Incubate, which includes her short story “Aggrieved.” She recently wrote and directed Obstacle Corpse, the first feature film from MaddWolf Productions! She also writes for Columbus Underground and the UK Film Review.In Central Ohio, you can catch Hope on TV every Friday morning on ABC6/Fox28’s Good Day Columbus.

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