Freaks is a cautionary science fiction fairytale about being different.
Freaks is a surreal-like fairytale science fiction film, that offers a very interesting structure. This film is to be seen without as little information as possible. This review contains no spoilers, but reveals some information about what to expect. It is a mystery, a fairytale and science fiction with a horror vibe all in one. It’s Chloe’s coming of age story about normal feelings that can’t be met in a normal and safe way. The film begins very subdued and quiet, but when the mystery is unfolded the film as well as Chloe become more and more bold and leads eventually to a thrilling action packed finale.
Seven-year-old Chloe lives with her father Henry in a house that is tightly bolded up, with paper covering the windows, big locks and he learns her how to be normal. Her mother has died a while ago, and Chloe and Henry seem to have a close and loving bond. But Henry seems to be a little too overprotective, paranoid even when it comes to Chloe’s safety. When an ice cream truck shows up and Mr Snowcone sends Chloe little gifts, she gets curious to venture outside her own protective world. Only to discover a horrible secret.
Why you should watch it
Freaks doesn’t bring anything new to the table when it comes to superpowers or mutants. But the way the story is told gives a new interesting take on this superhero genre. The story is told through the eyes of a seven-year-old, avoiding thus the good versus bad issues, but makes the story a very interesting and intimate watch. Her perspective is that of a lonely child that wants to be normal, to be able to eat ice cream, to play in the park with the other kids, but most of all to be raised in a normal family with a mother that loves her.
But she can’t, because it is dangerous and people are out to get her. Her entrapment in the house is aggravated by her only human contact with her father and being a child, she becomes rebellious and curious. Her father becomes untrustworthy to her and maybe frightening even. And the ice cream truck man, Mr Snowcone, becomes even more interesting to her. These ambiguous roles of the adult characters make Chloe’s world turn upside down, and even the viewer doesn’t know whom to trust. It’s this heartbreaking story of a little girl that makes this film so interesting.
The characters are very slowly unraveled and the mystery that surrounds them, and turns the whole experience into a surreal fairytale-like science fiction vibe, where you never can guess what to expect next.
This surreal and emotionally charged vibe is increased by the beautiful use of light and cinematography. Both enhancing the development of Chloe and the plot. Small rays of lights sprouting through the cracks in the house are a contrast to the harsh light outside. It is beautifully done, atheistically as well as symbolically. It creates a very tangible atmosphere of being lonely and curious and angry all at the same time, while shot in a very intimate and up-close way.
But that’s not all, because this bold chosen structure, that not only avoids good versus bad, provides the viewer with little to less information of who Chloe and her father are, why they are in hiding and why the father is so paranoid. Little pieces of information are given the viewer in time and this structure is part of a mystery that slowly evolves and unravels. Is there a ghost in her closet, what are Chloe’s powers and in what world does she live in?
It is therefore highly recommended to know a little as possible before watching this film. It makes Chloe’s journey of discovery all the more thrilling and interesting.
My favorite part
The ending without spoiling too much is where it all comes together. Being a family that sticks together and fights for their freedom is paramount and underlines the theme of the film. Chloe’s strength, her confidence isn’t about doing good things or bad things, it’s just a great longing that must be fulfilled, a longing that every child has. In this case to be with her mother whom she misses so much. It is very heartbreaking and touching to watch, but the end is also a strong empowerment for Chloe.
Thrill factor: ★★★★☆
Originality factor: ★★★★★
Entertainment factor: ★★★★★
Cast and crew
Freaks is directed and written by Adam Stein and Zach Lipovsky. It stars Lexy Kolker (Chloe), Emile Hirsch (Henry), Bruce Dern (Mr Snowcone/Alan) and Amanda Crew (Mary).
Duration: 105 minutes. Music: Timothy Michael Wynn. Cinematography: Stirling Bancroft. Edited by: Sabrina Pitre. Produced by: Adam Stein, Zach Lipovsky, Jordan Barber, Mitchell Waxman. Production companies: Amazing Incorporated, Wise Daughter Films, My Way Productions, Storyboard Capital Group. Distributed by: Well Go USA Entertainment.