Freaks: Review


“A bold girl discovers a bizarre, threatening, and mysterious new world beyond her front door after she escapes her father’s protective and paranoid control.”

Freaks is a sci-fi thriller that follows 7 year old Chloe as she tries to make sense of her father’s erratic behaviour. They are holed up in a dilapidated suburban house, running through “safety drills”, which include Chloe reciting personal information: “My name is Eleanor Reed, I am 7 years old, my favourite sport is baseball”

Paranoid dad, Henry (Emile Hirch), walks a fine line to keep the audience guessing for the first 20 minutes or so—Is he telling the truth, or completely delusional? Lexy Kolker’s headstrong Chloe is reminiscent of a young Drew Barrymore, and Bruce Dern is a good fit as cantankerous Mr Snowcone.

Freaks should pique the interest of anyone who enjoyed Monsters (2010), Looper (2012) or the first season of  Umbrella Academy (2019-).

Freaks takes Marvelesque mutants and puts them in an environment akin to Shyamalan’s shaky supernatural joint Signs (2002). Although it contains all the right elements Freaks struggles to break new ground. It is not just the abundance of X-Men-type stories of recent years that causes Freaks to suffer, but our new viewing habits.

Freaks runs to just over 100 minutes, which is on the short side for a feature these days, but it was a surprise to be left thinking “is that it?” I am now so accustomed to watching at least a handful of episodes back-to-back that I think a 1 hour 40 minute film is unfinished. I may have finally noticed the Netflix effect. Freaks did not need to be any longer—the story was complete. But maybe the presence of Grace Park reminded me of BSG binges.  

 Read the BRWC interview with directors Zach Lipovsky & Adam Stein here


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Esme Betamax is a writer and illustrator. Often found in the Cube Microplex. Favourites include: I ♡ Huckabees, Where the Buffalo Roam, Harold & Maude, Being John Malkovich and In the Shadow of the Moon.


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