Licking this didn't run chills up my spine
Now, "Ice Cream" is a harsh noir of vigilantism, although I have reservations on giving this piece a perfect score like everybody else at Newgrounds. Granted, it has the technical wizardry of a professional presentation, but the plot is holey, so full of holes you'd think it was quoting scripture. It isn't, of course.
The objective of this destitute, disenfranchised widower is to stop a serial killer disguised as a neighborhood ice cream peddler. Without any help from the police, he takes matters into his own hands and swings his sharpened gavel upon his target like judge, jury, executioner.
From a detached perspective, this flick satisfies its own premise and the audience who doesn't think too hard about the particulars. For one thing, rat poison, while suitably odorless and tasteless (ideal for concealing into food), often has a unique mix of symptoms that, if correctly identified, can be treated and used to track down the origin of the poison. Since the patterns of common anticoagulants' effects are obvious and even painful, the authorities would look into these deaths and become very suspicious of food peddlers catering to children. Thus, it's unbelievable that no cops are involved at all, unless it was deliberate omission of the author to concentrate on the vigilantism alone. Though At least mentioning the apparent non-involvement of the fatty-fat pigs would constitute greater motivation to turn vigilante.
Also, it's hard to imagine (by the cinematography) that our protagonist can see through his window and spy a crate full of rat poison in the ice cream truck across the street and no-one else did. Thus, he had to have seen something up close before the cartoon begins. It's a flimsy approach that doesn't really stand up against some amount of scrutiny.
The portrayal of the character is also deceptive, and the consequences of his actions--beyond the satisfying vigilantism--are never explored. When I first watched this cartoon, I anticipated a Hitchcockian or Twilight Zone twist befitting the noir genre, like the perceptions of the widower were skewed from day one and we discover the ice cream was never laced with rat poison: he slew an innocent if slovenly man. The children's deaths were from something entirely different, and while the real killer is on the loose, the police turn their attention to this new gruesome murder. Of course, that's a bit complex for one guy developing something for his final minor at university. So instead, we just get a guy who pitches an axe down on the killer's restraints, and then his head.
There's another hole: slicing the restraints. Why the uncharacteristic generosity? This guy ain't no philanthropist! Also, it would allow the man an opportunity to escape, something they tell you in military tactics is an utterly stupid and wasteful move since the guy can be recycled back into the enemy ranks should he get away clean. It doesn't fit the widower's idiom of mercilessness and erodes at the intelligence of this cartoon. My suspension of disbelief pretty much ended at that point, especially since the scene got laced with gaudy cliched modern psycho/horror visual effects as a demonstration that, yes, the author can do that stuff (if it's ever truly necessary).
Now, all this should not discourage Jevon James from trying his hand at the gritty stuff. With a little more development of the premise and a clear head on the screenwriting and storyboards, he is prone to develop some brilliant technical masterpieces with a somewhat decent story. The level of quality in this cartoon's visuals, despite the loss of quality through the file exporting, is sick and savvy in equal proportions. So "Ice Cream" is a decent demonstration of Jevon James' ability in a digital medium. Even so, it remains horribly cliched and glitched with logical conundrums that play like a bad pulp mystery or crime drama paperback, because there was no mystery and there was no moral ambiguity (or rather complexity) to the crime. It's good but very, very far from perfect.
The artstyle is good but, it would have been more interesting if it turned out that the box saying rat poison had something innocuous in it such as candy or that the guy turned out to really have a rat problem at home. To have the vigilante as a real delusional paranoid with psychosis would have made it feel better.
I had a sequel planned, it will all be answered. My time limit for this was very short so I had to get to a point to hand in and make it seem like something complete. (Sorry to copy and paste, but it's hard to keep saying the same thing over) Thanks for watching!
poor ice cream man all he wanted to do was to poison children
The ice cream man was only killing rats so they did not sneak into the van and infect the ice cream. If he was poisoning the kids then he would have been arrested long ago let alone be able to sell anything.