Freaks – Canada, 2018 – reviews

‘They look just like us’

Freaks is a 2018 Canadian science fiction psychological thriller feature film directed by Zach Lipovsky and Adam B Stein. The Amazing/Bloomgarden Films production stars Emile Hirsch, Bruce Dern, Grace Park, Amanda Crew and Lexy Kolker.

Plot:

A disturbed father (Emile Hirsch) locks his seven-year-old daughter in a house, warning her of grave dangers outside. However, the mysterious Mr Snowcone (Bruce Dern) convinces the girl to escape and join him on a profound quest for family, freedom, and revenge…

Reviews:

“A good 20 minutes could have been shaved off this flick’s running time and I don’t think it would have mattered much at all […] Overall, the film is a fun series of mind games in the first act that eventually explodes into something along the lines of a superhero bloodbath. Plus, the ending is pretty f*cking epic.” Mike Sprague, Arrow in the Head

Freaks is an exhilarating mix of dystopian mystery, sci-fi thriller and paranoid fantasy chiller […] The (often) semi-improvised acting adds a veneer of authenticity, whilst the story is full of twists and turns which keeps you hooked. Freaks is genre film-making of the highest quality. Inventive, imaginative and impressive.” Rob Aldam, Backseat Mafia

Freaks feels like an even more grounded, small-scale version of the X-Men, a sci-fi film filled with surprises, a message about parenthood and wanting to keep your child safe and isolated from the world, and a future star in Lexy Kolker.” Rafael Motamayor, Bloody Disgusting

” …the film’s second half fares better, showing its hand as a novel and compelling take on a well-worn formula. Lacking the spectacle of a superhero flick and the depth of a psychological thriller, in straddling multiple genres, Freaks is nevertheless successful at carving out its own little niche.” Christopher Machell, CineVue

“Lipovsky and Stein’s script cleverly integrates specific superpowers into plotting that leads to unexpectedly satisfying storytelling payoffs. Freaks is a film that is dark and occasionally dour. It’s also heroic and hopeful, ultimately ending as a uniquely entertaining, even enlightening take on relationship rifts as examined under an unusual lens.” Ian Sedensky, Culture Crypt

Freaks breathes new life into old genre ideas. It’s a tremendous piece of entertainment, gripping from start to finish, and it deserves to make Kolker into a star. For 82-year-old Dern, who hasn’t appeared in a science fiction film since Silent Running, it’s a wonderful return to form. This is a film that should not be missed.” Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

“Fortunately, the talented cast is enough to salvage any shortcomings that are already mostly only the result of high concept ambition rather than faulty writing or directing […] Lexy Kolker’s layered performance and ability to shine during drama and action at such a young age is what’s really freakish. Freakishly good.” Robert Kojder, Flickering Myth

” …a film that is exciting, thoughtful, chilling in its own way and simply staggeringly good. Freaks doesn’t have the budget of the big blockbusters […] but Hollywood studios will have to go something to make a film that is this good. Simply put, Freaks is one of the films of the year.” Kevin Crighton, The Grump of Horror

“If you start watching this movie and feel lost, then please don’t give up. All will be explained and it turns into a brilliant Sci-Fi thriller that continues to surprise and evolve. Just surrender to the world of Freaks and you will be rewarded with an awesome story.” Karina Adelgaard, Heaven of Horror

“Narratively and visually it’s all of a well-integrated piece, which is an accomplishment in itself considering the film’s obvious technical demands. Although the limited locations and infrequent exteriors suggest a modest budget, the filmmakers strategically prioritize the robust sound design and intensely rendered special effects.” Justin Lowe, The Hollywood Reporter

“This is what genre film is all about, and it’s why, after initially eye-rolling at the thought of watching yet another derivative piece of work, it’s so refreshing and rewarding to find a film like this one. Even where you can recognise some of the film’s elements, it does something new with them and makes them matter.” Keri O’Shea, Warped Perspective

Freaks came out of nowhere quickly impressing me with a complex but poignant tale. It feels like an early day M. Night Shyamalan film when he still topped the box office and it was more about telling a simple story than it was the twist […] While not traditional horror it is one of the best horror-themed movies I’ve seen all year.” Without Your Head

Release:

Freaks premiered on 7th September 2018 at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

The movie will be released theatrically by Well Go USA on September 13th, 2019. 

Notes:

This movie should not be confused with the 2017 Freaks directed by Grek Zekowski.

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