Zack Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein (director)
17 March 2019 (released)
There are times when you are a little out of step with the general flow but not to the extent that it’s a struggle to make your way against it. So, it is with Freaks which while it has a few good ideas taking often use (well-worn?) comic book tropes that have seen massive box office returns over the past 15 years but maybe doesn’t come over as the variation of its ambition.
The first act has seven-year-old Chloe (Lexy Kolker) living in a home that has seen far better days with her father (Emile Hersch) who is close to paranoia as he coaches his daughter about life outside. However as far as the neighbours or anyone else is concerned Chloe is ‘Eleanor’. From the outset there’s a cloying sense of mystery as dad flies off the handle with any contact that Chloe may have with the outside world. And as a curious girl Chloe is keen to find out about the world beyond her home and starting to get frustrated with dad.
Chloe does get out of the house for an ice-cream – which dad hadn’t got her on his return from his last venture out - to the vendor parked close by Mr Snowcone (Bruce Dern). He’s not quite what he seems, and sets out to help Chloe find out about herself and her dead mother, one spoiler they all have something in common.
To some the title Freaks will mean the 1932 Tod Browning classic, and the genuine horror that it has been remade. Thankfully writers and directors Zack Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein have stayed well away from that and as alluded to before what are Freaks very much depends on the perspectives of the characters in the film and possibly the viewer.
The small budget is probably why the film doesn’t venture too far from the home but when it does there’s some tight impressive action sequences. These are towards the end as after the taught opening section it flags somewhat though we do find out why Chloe and Dad are where they are and authorities’ role in that but pulls it all together as it reaches its conclusion.
The most familiar name will be Bruce Dern though he in no way overshadows anyone else in the film and especially not Lexy Kolker who is very impressive developing in the role as her character becomes aware of herself and the outside