It has been a strong couple of years in Australian and New Zealand for horror films. The Antipodeans are currently leading the world in producing innovative and quality genre pictures. The Babadook, What We Do In The Shadows and Housebound have all demonstrated a shrewd appreciation for the more intelligent aspects of horror, with Wolf Creek 2 set to follow shortly. Chocolate Strawberry Vanilla isn’t quite on the same level but demonstrates what can be done on a small budget.
Warren (Glenn Maynard) is one of life’s misfits. He lives a lonely life either driving around in his ice cream van or at home fantasising about Katey George (Kyrie Capri), the star of Warren’s favourite soap opera. One day, she turns up for an ice cream and he starts to believe that his fantasies might actually become reality. Unfortunately for Warren, he also has to contend with a seriously angry man who has taken a strong dislike to him.
Chocolate Strawberry Vanilla is more of a black comedy than a straight horror film. Stuart Simpson has done a great job of combining uneasiness, humour and oddness to paint a portrait of a man who, despite emitting signs of worrying tendencies, we can empathise with and feel sorry for. Glenn Maynard is superb in his portrayal of Warren as a sympathetic character. Indeed, much of the success of Chocolate Strawberry Vanilla relies on his strong performance. It’s an oddity alright, but an impressive one.
Chocolate Strawberry Vanilla is released on Blu-ray DVD by Monster Pictures and is out now.