If you’ve been checking Netflix’s new Top 10 feature this week, you’ve come across the sci-fi movie Freaks. Should you be adding Freaks to your watch list?
Netflix recently introduced the Top 10 feature so you can see what other people are watching. They have an overall Top 10, as well as separate ones for both movies and television series. This weekend, the movie Freaks made the overall Top 10 and it currently sits at number four on the Top 10 movies list.
Freaks first caught my attention when it was added to Rotten Tomatoes’ “Best Movies of 2019” list last year. The movie had a long run around the world on the festival circuit before receiving a limited theatrical run in the states. For most, its arrival on Netflix was the first time they had the opportunity to see it. So should you be following suit and giving Freaks a chance?
Let’s start by going over what Freaks is about. It’s hard to do this without spoiling the movie because it is one of those movies where you don’t get the answers right away. We are seeing the movie through 7-year-old Chloe’s (Lexy Kolker, Shooter ) eyes, and she doesn’t know much about the world around her. We learn about the world along with her when the movie starts. What we know at the beginning is that her father is paranoid about her being hurt by someone or something and she cannot go outside.
As you begin to question why she can’t go outside, you start to get clues. It won’t be clear what these clues are at first but they start to pile up. Weird things start happening and we have to question if these things are happening to Chloe, or if she’s causing them. Her curiosity increases along with yours, thankfully, and the movie doesn’t stagnate but does take a while to get to the point.
Without saying too much more, this is my biggest critique of the movie. The first 30-45 minutes of the film are hard to follow because you don’t know what’s happening and you start to become very concerned for Chloe.
While we are watching the movie through Chloe’s innocent eyes, the way the adults around her act is what drives the movie. While her father is desperate to keep her inside, the neighbors seem normal, and the ice cream truck guy wants to show her that everything is fine. There is a point when Chloe does learn what’s happening outside and that’s where the movie really starts for us.
I just realized how hard it is to write about this movie without spoiling it but we will press on.
While Lexy Kolker’s Chloe is the main character in the film, there are key performances from the rest of the cast as well. Emile Hirsch (The Autopsy of Jane Doe) plays Chloe’s father and he spends the entire movie trying to protect her from whatever is outside. Bruce Dern (Nebraska) plays Mr. Snowcone, the creepy ice cream truck driver who is trying to lure Chloe outside and Grace Park (Battlestar Galactica) plays a mysterious character that I’ll leave for you to learn about during the film.
Kolker does a great job carrying this film, first as a curious child, then as a child determined to change her situation. She has to learn some hard lessons along the way but as she begins to learn more about her world, she adapts and we see a change in her demeanor. This was an impressive performance for such a young actress, especially one that looks like she should be telling you about the animal crackers in her soup.
The movie is called Freaks and if you watched the trailer above you can see that there are beings that have abilities. My favorite aspect of this movie was the abilities. They didn’t go with the stereotypical powers that you expect in superhero-type movies and I appreciated that the most. Even the ones that are somewhat traditional were still presented in a new way. There is only one character who really explains their abilities, the rest just do what they do.
What makes this great is that it feels more organic and natural. The movie is very contained, so the world manages to feel small despite these beings with enormous power being present. You do get some information about the world outside of Chloe’s view but not much. Regardless, the movie gets bloody once the abilities start being used and a few of the bloody scenes are somewhat graphic. I personally am not a fan of gore and I wouldn’t call it gory but guns and blood splatter are involved. There are also a few stabbing scenes as well.
Freaks gets off to a bit of a confusing and slow start, but by the end, it was a very fun movie that adds something to the horror/sci-fi genre. The ending leaves room for the idea of a sequel though the movie can also stand alone pretty powerfully. If they did pursue a sequel it would be a very different movie now that we know what’s going on. It would be more about expanding the world that was established in this first film.
If you like grounded films about people with abilities, you definitely want to add Freaks to your list.