You Need to Lie to Be Normal

Freaks Review

Freaks poster

In a year that has given us a lot of great films, there are still plenty that I have missed out on. With only a few shorts weeks left in 2019, I am trying my hardest to fill in some of the gaps that I’ve left over the past 12 months. One film that came out of nowhere that I can now scratch off of this list is Adam B. Stein and Zach Lipovsky’s Freaks.

The Plot

After seven years of being locked inside of her home with her over-protective father, Chloe finally ventures out beyond her front door. Now, she must survive this new world and all of the threats that it introduces.

My Thoughts

Like many other films from this past year, Freaks is one that I knew practically nothing about. I did watch the short trailer upon learning of it, but I was still left with very little knowledge of what I was actually about to encounter.

Freaks immediately thrusts us into a paranoid world where father and daughter, Henry (Emile Hirsch, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood) and Chloe (Lexy Kolker, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), are going through what seems to be a daily routine of a practiced narrative. The house they are staying in is rather beat up and run down, and we are made aware that young Chloe has not ever ventured outside. This is all we are given for quite some time, however.

To be honest, Freaks starts off way too slow for my taste. The acting between on-screen father and daughter is wonderful, as the two performers share some rather touching moments in between their fighting and confusing back and forth dialogue. It isn’t until about a full hour into this 105 minute flick, however, that things start to make sense.

Thankfully when these necessary details finally begin to reveal themselves is when Freaks goes from sluggishly paced ambiguous plot line to intricate storytelling that I couldn’t peel my eyes away from.

We are introduced to a world where people with extraordinary powers are looked down upon by the rest of society, referred to as “Abnormals” or simply, “Freaks,” hence the title of the film.

As I alluded to already, the performances from all parties are wonderful from beginning to end. Not only do Hirsch and the adorable Kolker play their roles remarkably well, but so too do their on-screen colleagues, Bruce Dern (The ‘Burbs, The Hateful Eight), Amanda Crew (“Silicon Valley,” Tone-Deaf), and Grace Park (“Hawaii 5-0”), to name a few.

It is a treat seeing the various relationships play out — daughter and father, granddaughter and grandfather, etc — in between some of the more intense scenes which take place somewhere inside of the sci-fi thriller category of horror cinema.

Freaks at Home

Freaks is available to own on Blu-ray Combo and DVD now from Well Go USA Entertainment.

The film itself is presented in a 16:9 widescreen format with a DTS-HD master audio track and optional English SDH and French subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.

There are some bonus features, which do help immerse audiences a bit deeper into the Freaks experience. Although it is rather short, I quite enjoyed the behind-the-scenes featurette that gives us a closer look at the filming of the film and features interviews with the cast and crew. There are also some additional Well Go USA trailers available, as well as an audio commentary track with co-writers/co-directors Stein and Lipovsky.

The Verdict

Freaks came out of left field for me, and while it starts off painstakingly slow and rather confusing, it picks itself up rather effectively. In the end, the tremendously talented cast, along with the original storyline, impressive special effects, and heartfelt moments between characters really changed my initial opinion, making Freaks one of my favorite films of 2019.

Be sure to pick up a copy for yourself, as I give this one 4 famous ghost moms out of 5.

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