The wonderful thing about FrightFest is sitting in a darkened cinema with no idea about what you are about to watch and discovering something menacing and marvellous. This was the case with Freaks a Sci-Horror that brings a truly original spin on super powers.
The film centres around seven-year-old Chloe (Lexy Kolker from Agents of SHEILD) a girl confined to her run down house by her paranoid father played by Emile Hirsch who constantly reminds his daughter of the evils of the outside world.
The door is padlocked and her Dad only goes out for supply runs every so often leaving Chloe behind to dream of her dead mother and a new life as a ‘normal’ allowed to play in the sun and get ice cream whenever she wants.
In their downtime father and daughter play cards and run through assumed identities which are drilled into the child as if her life depends upon it. Slowly we learn that it does as Chloe exists in a world where aliens are amongst us, feared by the human population because of their powers which grow stronger with each generation.
Labelled as freaks their presence in the cities is illegal and they are herded up and confined away from the general public who despise them. Suffering the loss of her mother already Chloe’s dad desperately tries to protect his child from the wicked world but her determination leads to her escaping into the arms of the creepy ice-cream van owner Mr. Snowcone (The Hateful Eight’s Bruce Dern) whose intentions are extremely unclear.
The cast are all excellent especially the father daughter duo whose daily life we witness during the opening of the movie. As mentioned Dern gives a great turn as does Battlestar Galactica’s Grace Park as an ADF agent who unwittingly gets involved.
Blending Life is Beautiful with District 9 writer and director team Zach Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein create a superb story that builds wonderfully revealing itself in increments as it goes along. A true tale for our times the hate and prejudice the freaks suffer is a mirror to the world we live in especially modern day America. This comparison with the US is most evident in the way the police immediately exterminate anyone they see demonstrating a sign of being an alien in scenes reminiscent of the shocking footage of police brutality seen from the Black Lives Matter movement.
What is most impressive is the twist the movie brings on being born with powers. Chloe is a child and thus has no way to understand what she is capable of however as she learns what she can do she uses it as a seven year old would, to get what she wants. This leads to some disturbing scenes where her childish mind manipulates others to do her bidding darkly demonstrating how power can be easily and innocently abused.
Containing some excellent effects throughout these kick in more as the movie moves to its climax whcih has it all from the emotional impact to all out action. Part Sci-Fi social comment, part horror drama Freaks is a movie all of its own and one you won’t quickly forget.