Friday, June 07, 2024

Trim Season, Starring Jane Badler

Look, marijuana is bad for you. That shouldn’t be a controversial thing to say. There are still a lot of valid reasons for legalization, but New York City’s inability to close all the unregulated pot shops that have sprung up greatly undermines much of that logic. In addition, some of the suppliers engage in witchcraft and bloody sacrifices. At least that is true of the Northern California farm in Ariel Vida’s Trim Season, which opens today in theaters.

Emma just got fired and her landlord is throwing her out, so her bestie Julia took her out drinking. They do not really like their exponentially more successful acquaintance Pua, but when her boyfriend (or whatever) James pitches a two-week temp gig trimming marijuana buds, they are receptive, because they need the bread.

Of course, even if you hadn’t seen the grisly prologue, anyone can tell sleazy James acts suspiciously like a recruiter for a human trafficking ring. Naturally, they are a bit put off by the armed men patrolling the work-site, but what did they expect? This is literally the drug business. However, the boss, Mona, is something else entirely.

Apparently, she is some kind of witch, who has the power to kill remotely though telekinetic powers, which she fuels through a potential lethal strand of super-weed. It can kill those who are not prepared for it, like the annoying co-worker who steals some of Mona’s stash. Frankly, it looks like Nancy Reagan was right all along. Just say no kids.

You should say “no” to this movie too. The sluggish pace suggests way too many of the “props” were used for real during the production. The pronoun-announcing trimmers are also too annoying to care too much about. Obviously, Emma is the film’s clear final survivor candidate, but her professional victimhood is tiresome right from the start. Frankly, only the energy of Juliette Kenn De Balinthazy registers to any extent as Lex, whose character is largely defined by her inability to feel physical pain (which could very well come in handy).

Sadly, genre regular Alex Essoe is stuck in the woefully under-written role of Julia, whose main function in the film is tell Emma somehow everything will be alright. However, Jane Badler (from the original
V and the late 1980s Mission Impossible reboot series) portrays Mona with Diva-worthy malevolence. She is way better than the film deserves.

Unfortunately, Vida never fully capitalizes on the creepy Humboldt County vibe. If you are in the mood for a film about evil pot-growers,
Quiet Cool is probably still your best bet. They really understood how to make drug movies in the 1980s. Not recommended, Trim Season opens today (6/7) at the lower Manhattan Drafthouse.