Somehow, this one managed to fly under my radar. That’s unusual for an Indy film which has earned more that its share of critical praise.
Not that I’m complaining: I’m always happy when a film like this comes out of nowhere and whacks me over the head.
And what a strange and remarkable film this is!
Freaks is one of those films where any attempt to summarize it could easily give away far too much. There is a little girl, living a strange, isolated life in a sealed up house. She lives with her father (Emile Hirsch) who is desperately trying to keep her safe from the beasts outside.
And then there is the mysterious Ice Cream Man (Bruce Dern), who lurks just outside the locked and duct-tape sealed door, trying to lure the girl out.
Except that it is a very different film from the one you think I’ve just described.
Somehow, Freaks has found a new way to tell its story. Yes, it may seem a familiar story, but, let’s face it, there are a lot of familiar ideas out there in the world of Science Fiction.
And most of them get used over and over again.
So a new twist on a familiar theme, is always welcome (and, let’s face it, far more common than any actual new ideas!)
Particularly when that new twist comes in a film that is done this well.
Not only are we given a unique perspective on our story and a few startling images (my favorite is the mysterious children’s book dropped through the sealed mail slot, although what the girl finds in her closet is almost as strange), but there is a weird and wonderful flavor to the entire film, like an off-kilter fairy tale which gradually morphs into something more unnerving.
While a lot of reviewers feel that they have to put in a lot of effort creating “best of” lists for each year, it’s not something I’ve ever been that interested in. After all, I’m very aware of how many SF films there are which I’ve never seen, how many I’ve seen and barely remember, and how many films once considered classic which are now almost impossible to find.
But that doesn’t mean that I won’t tell you that Freaks was one of the best films made in 2018.
After all, there aren’t many SF films out there this original, this adventurous or this good, not even in the Festival circuit.
And you aren’t going to find one this good every year.
So lock the doors, duct tape yourself in and don’t pay any attention to the passing time outside.
You need to watch this one.
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