Title – Freaks (2018)
Directors – Zach Lipovsky & Adam B. Stein (Dead Rising: Watchtower)
Cast – Emile Hirsch, Bruce Dern, Lexy Kolker, Grace Park, Amanda Crew
Plot – 7 year old Chloe (Kolker) is kept inside the house she shares with her father Henry (Hirsch) as he instills in her a sense of fear about the outside world that more or may not be too dangerous for Chloe to venture into.
“You have to stay hidden”
Review by Eddie on 25/02/2020
A tricky film to talk about, due to the fact many of the great moments within it come from not knowing what is coming or where you are heading, independent sleeper hit Freaks is a solid attempt by directing duo Zach Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein at crafting a unique offering that should be applauded for doing a lot with nothing more than an idea and some solid actors to bring it to life.
Advancing from various TV works and director for hire roles, Lipovsky and Stein mess with a somewhat familiar yet refreshingly unpredictable sci-fi/thriller landscape, as they thrust viewers into the mind and world of Lexy Kolker’s young girl Chloe, whose home imprisonment at the behest of her father (played by an as good as his been in years Emile Hirsch) is either a needful move by her protective father in a world he says is too dangerous for her to enter or the move of a madman whose bonkers view on the state of the planet is disallowing Chloe a chance of a normal life.
Who is right, what is happening and where the film is going is all brilliantly set-up in a tension riddled and well-played out first act that gives both Kolker and Hirsch a chance to really gel together in what’s an impressive double header and while the likes of Bruce Dern, Grace Park and Amanda Crew all have various roles to play in Freaks story, this is at heart a story about a father and daughter in an extra ordinary situation that’s at its best when the films main stars are allowed too hog the limelight.
Sadly for Freaks, as the film begins to morph into something else entirely and its genres begin to expand with it, Lipovsky and Stein lose sight of the more confined and well-rounded set-up that grips us tightly at first instance, as its increasingly far-fetched and over-reaching narrative starts to take over and become more of a generic offering than what we first expected of it to become.
It’s unfortunate that Freaks best work is found in its first half, had the film been able to sustain its energy, character building and mystery that is to be easily found in its first half, the film would’ve become a very worthy break out hit.
As it stands, the moments of brilliance that are scattered throughout this duel directing effort suggest an exciting career ahead for two filmmakers who have showcased here, with very little fanfare or budget, that their imaginations and directional nuance could well deliver a genuinely special feature event in the future, while Sci-Fi acolytes in particular are sure to enjoy the delights that Freaks has in store for them across a largely unpredictable ride.
Final Say –
A small film with big ideas, not everything in Freaks works but there’s enough here (particularly in a strong first half) to suggest this likely future cult favourite will find its fair share of ardent fans.
3 chocolate ice-creams out of 5