FILM REVIEW: FREAKS (FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL)
Montreal’s FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL is finally here, happening now! Underway since the 12th of July, the festival showcases just how much indie filmmakers have to offer the Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror film scene. Needless to say, I am one happy genre fan right now. With an absolutely HUGE catalog of amazing features and many more shorts, this powerhouse of a festival shows us it is possible to have both quality and quantity. Once again FEAR FOREVER is here to bring you their coverage for 2019.
After a positive run at previous international film festivals, Adam B. Stein and Zach Lipovsky’s supremely captivating FREAKS had its Québec premiere at FANTASIA this week. For those who are still interested in a superhero narrative, but are sick of the over-saturated Marvel Cinematic Universe, FREAKS may be just what you are looking for.
For her whole 7 years of life, Chloe and her dad have hidden away in their house. There’s a world out there that wants to harm them- although she doesn’t quite know why. When a sinister ice cream man lures Chloe outside, her eyes are opened to exactly what the dangers are for people like her and her family.
FREAKS successfully captures our attention nearly straight away. The film endears us to Chloe and her plight for freedom, while simultaneously ringing those ‘stranger danger” alarm bells that reach us on a primal level. Every time a door unlocks or newspaper is pulled away from a window it triggers intense anxiety. The film puts us in Chloe’s shoes- we’re scared of the outside and we don’t even know what is out there yet!
Hidden in a moving family drama is a Science Fiction gold mine. FREAKS bring us shades of
Cronenberg’s SCANNERS and the X-MEN franchise. With its touching father-daughter relationship and their relentless persecution, FREAKS is the tribute to Stephen King’s FIRESTARTER we never knew we needed.
In addition to Lexy Kolker’s performance as Chloe (which puts the young Drew Barrymore’s in FIRESTARTER to shame), FREAKS has a cast who are more than capable of producing characters that leave a lasting impression on us. After his role in the spectacularly spooky THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE, Emile Hirsch is back in the realm of the dark thriller, although he has transitioned his way from a son to a father role with great success. In FREAKS he once again proves he is an asset to the genre as the hardened survivor and protector known only as ‘Dad’. Bruce Dern also knocks it out of the park as ‘Mr. Snowcone’ ,a role in which he delivers a performance with impressive range.
FREAKS has some exhilarating twists and turns, misdirecting us at various points only to stun us with the truth. These misdirects never come off as cheap. Instead, FREAKS delivers us a story that will stay with us, giving us an unforeseeable yet satisfying ending for all our investment. Horror fans will get a lot out of the film too as it has plenty of dark elements. If you’re fine with a bit of violence but anything involving eyeballs and sharp, pointy things is too gruesome for you, well, consider this your warning.
I really don’t have anything negative to say about FREAKS. The film carries its high concept premise effortlessly, reaching the perfect balance between the intimate and the grand scale. Stein and Lipovsky have given us an incredibly immersive and entertaining ride from start to finish. The action in the film is exciting and better than any recent blockbuster, I’m sure FREAKS will go down as a FANTASIA FESTIVAL highlight for 2019. FREAKS begins its theatrical run in the U.S on August 23 and it is definitely worth your time and money.
“FREAKS delivers a story that will stay with us, rewarding the viewer with an unforeseeable yet satisfying ending.”
5 Tombstones out of 5…