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Freaks (2018) Movie Review

I Wrote my First Movie Review While Giving Birth to a Camera. It has followed me ever since. Please don't mind the Mess.


MPAA Rating


Running Time

105 minutes


Zach Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein


Zach Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein

Black Friday is finally over. You’ve gotten great deals on so many things that will truly make your lives happy. Except for the 4th time in 5 years you’ve forgotten your children at the mall. They’re probably trapped in a freezer like they were in 2017 (and 2014), and eventually you’ll identify and get them once they defrost.

But for now, enjoy that Roomba you trampled a 76-year old widow to get at 50% off. Enjoy that AncestryDNA Kit that finally reveals you really are related to a bunch of white nationalists.

Enjoy that Instant Pot. We know you didn’t really buy it. You didn’t think anybody saw that, did you? Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone you took it from an immigrant family of 10 who saved up all year just to get it on sale. As they were putting it into the trunk of their car, you and Chris and Maxine shoved them into the trunk and slammed it shut. I believe the mother of the family of 10 still had the keys in her hands. You knew no one would pay attention to them because they weren’t white. Your mind will drown out their screams as you both cook your rice and make your yogurt. Maybe they’ve already run out of air so they can’t identify you.

It was worth it, wasn’t it? Especially because this model came with an egg maker? You can just cook away the guilt of the time you turned Black Friday…red.

And while you’re enjoying your spoils, make sure you enjoy this review of the horror sci-fi thriller hybrid Freaks.

It’s absolutely free, so you don’t have to suffocate a family of 6 to get it.

So did I…


Freaks opens sometime in the near future, or in the present. I’m not really sure but it doesn’t seem that important.

We meet a grungy, unkempt father named, um, Dad (Once Upon A Time in Hollywood’s Emile Hirsch). He’s teaching his young daughter Chloe (Lexy Kolker) to say random sentences that audience immediately knows is a cover story for something.

Dad and Chloe’s house is in shambles. They have no furniture. Windows are taped up. Every wall has 7 different types of stain, whether belonging to a human or animal we’re not sure nor do we really want to know.

Dad also has hundreds of thousands of dollars he keeps stashed in the walls. No doubt for a very good and not at all absurd reason.

Dad is paranoid, to put it mildly. Every other sentence out of his mouth admonishes Chloe that she has to be and act “normal” or else “they” will get her. If you saw Dad on the street you’d immediately cross over to the other side or start looking at your phone just so you wouldn’t make eye contact.

That wouldn’t happen, because Dad hasn’t left the house in quite a long time. Whether it’s weeks, days or months we can’t tell but we wouldn’t be surprised either way.

Dad has made it his mission in life to keep Chloe inside, to keep her safe, so “they” won’t find and kill her. Everything about this reads as completely normal and Dad is just trying to be a good father like when I got locked in the basement for a week because I “only” got a B+ on a test.

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I’m Asian.

Anyway, Chloe is growing up and she’s naturally curious about the outside world. She’s lived most of her life solely with her father as her mother (Tone-Deaf’s Amanda Crew) died a long time ago (maybe). She wants to meet other people. She wants a new mom.

She wants some motherf*cking ice cream.

But Dad won’t have it.

Lest you think Dad is completely unreasonable, there are shots of news reports that show that not all is well with the world around them. Something really bad happened, but right now it’s super vague and only waiting for a 3rd act reveal.

Chloe is getting more and more upset. She’s having conversations with her dead mom. She’s making her next-door neighbor do thing she doesn’t want to do. Her dad can’t keep her captive for long.

Stacks of Cash, yo.

Stacks of Cash, yo.

Did I mention she really wants some ice cream?

So much so that Chloe defies her dad’s orders and leaves the house. She’s just a perfectly normal little girl that wants little girl things.

It just so happens that the friendly neighborhood ice cream man Mr. Snowcone (Bruce Dern) is parked right in front of her house. In fact, he might have been in front of her house for quite a while.

Mr. Snowcone seems to recognize Chloe and even knows her name. An old white guy talking to a little girl in an overly familiar manner is not unsettling at all. And played by Bruce Dern, no less.

Mr. Snowcone has a lot to tell Chloe about the world and her place in it. He has a few choice things to say about Dad as well.

Now Chloe doesn’t feel as much like a freak. She’s starting to realize that she can get almost anything she wants to matter who stands in her way. Whether that’s a good thing for the rest of the world, no one but Mr. Snowcone knows.

You can trust the ice cream man.

You can trust the ice cream man.

What Works With Freaks

  • Lexy Volker makes a compelling enough debut as Chloe. It’s genuinely surprising how she more than holds her own with established such established actors like Dern and Hirsch. Chloe always keeps the audience off-balance so you’re never if she’s just a normal little freak girl or Brightburn evil. Volker is the only reason to see Freaks.

What Doesn’t Work With Freaks

  • What starts out as a genuinely horrific paranoia thriller eventually devolves into something we see every 4th movie that gets released in theaters. You’re taken along with Freaks because the first act doesn’t really fit into a fixed genre. Too bad the 3rd act is such a letdown. The movie’s rarely boring, it just becomes something you’d see on the CW most days of the week.
  • The script by writer/directors Adam Stein and Zach Lipovsky shows so much promise, but simply from a writing standpoint, the more the viewer knows the less interesting Freaks becomes.
This seems perfectly safe.

This seems perfectly safe.


Straying from its freaky beginning, Freaks becomes something generic and forgettable. The payoff is not worth the setup.


Buy Freaks Here...or a Good Movie!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2019 Noel Penaflor

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