September 9, 2019 Freaks (Movie Review)
Don’t leave the house! That is, unless you are hungry for a new Sci-Fi/Thriller offering that involves two shut-ins and some impressive supernatural abilities. If you are intrigued, Well Go USA delivers Freaks to select theaters on Friday, September 13th, 2019.
In the not-so-distant future, the world is composed of Normals and Abnormals, or Freaks, a group of individuals with powerful supernatural abilities. With the outside world in a constant state of turmoil, an overprotective and paranoid father (Emile Hirsch: The Girl Next Door 2004, The Autopsy of Jane Doe 2016) has shuttered himself and his 7-year-old daughter Chloe (Lexy Kolker: Shooter series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series) inside in fear. Suffering from the loss of her mother (Amanda Crew: The Haunting in Connecticut 2009, Tone-Deaf 2019) and a serious case of cabin fever, the precocious youngster dreams of a normal life with a normal family—and a mom.
When an emergency ice cream run arises one afternoon, Chloe encounters a mysterious stranger (Bruce Dern: The ‘Burbs 1989, The Hateful Eight 2015) who is able to offer her some insight into the outside world and all of its varying secrets. When she learns that everything she has known her entire life is a lie, Chloe will begin to realize that nothing is black and white and the dangers that lie outside her house are quite real.
Clocking in at 104 minutes, Freaks was written and directed by Zach Lipovsky (Leprechaun: Origins 2015, Mech-X4 series) and Adam Stein (Mech-X4 series, Kim Possible TV movie 2019). It also features the acting talents of Grace Park (Battlestar Galactica series, Hawaii Five-O series), Michelle Harrison (Paycheck 2003, The Invisible 2007), Ava Telek (Flowers in the Attic TV movie 2014, The Magicians series), Matty Finochio (Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb 2014, Loudermilk series), and more.
Billed as being a blend of nearly every genre, Freaks best fits a Sci-Fi/Thriller categorization, though it contains heavy elements of the supernatural, some action, a bit of blood, and plenty of drama. The film has already accrued a collection of honors for itself, including being an Official Selection at both the Toronto International Film Festival and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, as well as taking home awards at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival (Jury Prize), Paris International Fantastic Film Festival (Best Film – Audience Award), and Vancouver International Fantastic Film Festival (Emerging Filmmaker Award).
With its wonderful cinematography by Stirling Bancroft (Cadence 2016, Adventures in Public School 2017), superb score by Tim Wynn (XCOM 2 video game 2016, Mech-X4 series), and exceptional special FX, it’s easy to see how Freaks is building quite a name for itself. Of course, having a uniquely intriguing screenplay and an exceptional cast does not hurt either.
Heading the talented group is Hirsch as Henry, a paranoid and overprotective father who is trying to see the world in black and white. Choosing to hide rather than fight, he has sequestered himself and his child into a condemned home in hopes of removing the bad from their lives. An extreme trope, Henry’s quirks and oddities are brought to life by Hirsch’s conviction in his performance. While he’s suitably awkward and a bit insane at times, this gets the message across loud and clear: his sole purpose left in this world is to protect his daughter.
As that daughter, young Kolker is jaw-dropping in her performance. Able to effectively communicate the curious and trusting nature of childhood, and yet also embody an intelligence and ferocity far beyond her years, Kolker portrays her role with the finesse of a seasoned Hollywood vet—and she’s just 10-years-old. Simply put, her abilities pave the way for both the talented Crew and marvelous Dern to succeed in their roles. Dern gives a stellar performance as the initially creepy Mr. Snowcone, who is much more than meets the eye, and Crew offers a poignant performance as an unbreakable mother.
All said, Freaks fires on all cylinders to provide an enjoyable experience for film-goers, one with soft notes of popular Sci-Fi series such as Heroes. Well-done and with an exceptional cast and crew, crossing genres fluidly to craft an original story with intelligent layers, this is a film that asks important questions amidst its action. Is it better to hide yourself away or to face your problems head-on? Is being different dangerous? Are you tired of being asked all these questions? Go see Freaks, because Cryptic Rock give it 5 out of 5 stars.