TRIM SEASON – Review by Justina Walford

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Horror movie on a weed farm. You know, sometimes a film’s premise doesn’t do the film justice. Trim Season is not campy stoner fun. It is female gaze horror with uterus-owning characters who have depth and beauty even as villains and more importantly, even as victims.

With an intro that evokes 70s supernatural films, Trim Season stays stylistically nostalgic while having details that firmly root us in the present day. Even with cell phones and a current view on pronouns, one cannot help but feel like this could be a double feature with the original The Stepford Wives or Carrie.

As the premise implies, the film is about a young group of people who go to work on a weed farm, trimming the bud. Our heroine is Emma, newly unemployed and at her wit’s end. She and her best friend join the group at a remote cannabis farm, hoping to make some quick money. Timid and without purpose or passion, Emma is a reluctant hero until her time to grow happens later in the film.

Emma (Bethlehem Million from Sick) is the perfect example of a character saying no to every dumb idea while the rest of the characters walk into danger as we, who have been raised on horror, know they will. But Emma’s intelligence is overshadowed by her weakness of character: prioritizing others’ needs above her own. And this is where we see the film transcend expectation. Emma acts according to her character, so we are not rooting for her survival. We are rooting for her to reach her era. Every scary scene is her opportunity to stand up for herself.

And there’s a surprisingly well-acted and written scene where each character talks about their families and their pasts. This is the note that hits best in the film. I found myself invested in Dusty’s earnestness (Bex Taylor-Klaus) and Lex’s physical and emotional strength (Juliette Kenn De Balinthazy), while others may be drawn to the pure best friend dynamic between Emma and Julia (Alexandra Essoe) or Harriet’s unnerving chaos (Ally Ioannides) that becomes the catalyst in this descent. But let’s talk a bit about our villain, Mona, the landowner and boss. Jane Badler brings on the dysfunctional mother and greed-for-youth that we expect from a villain, but adds just a touch more of the alluring manipulation that makes us think of real-life dysfunctional characters. The way she talks to her sons has an eerie familiarity, highlighted with key exposition done at the dinner table.

The final scenes are empowering as we watch Emma grow into her power. While the film doesn’t play at being more than a scary movie, it does fully embrace the evolution of the genre. By playing by the rules and often playing with the rules of horror, Trim Season is a character-rich film with enough gore and scares to satisfy the old-school horror fan in us, too.

If you want jump scares and campy sarcasm, move on. If you want to root for characters created for the female gaze, some solid choice gore scenes, and beautifully shot cannabis smoking, Trim Season is worth a watch.

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Justina Walford

Justina Walford is a film critic on a mission to spotlight the voices of visionary women behind the camera. Coming from a background in writing for stage and screen, Justina celebrates the diverse narratives and unique perspectives women bring to film. Her reviews not only critique cinematic techniques but also amplify the importance of representation in the film industry. Justina especially enjoys the edgier side of film in the rich and diverse landscape of art created by women. She is always on the hunt for trailblazers in horror and experimental work.