September 17, 2018

VIFF 2018 | Must See BC – Emile Hirsch 'Freaks' Out

Bruce Dern Zach Lipovsky Adam B. Stein | Freaks' Out | VIFF 2018

VIFF 2018—Shot in Vancouver, filmmakers Zach Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein set their secretive supernatural, sci-fi-tinged thriller, elusively titled Freaks, as a mysterious character drama set almost entirely in a single location.

Most superficially summed up as Room meets X-Men, the film takes place mostly in a rundown house on an otherwise pleasant-looking block as a father and his "special" seven-year-old daughter, a dishevelled Emile Hirsch and newcomer Lexy Kolker, struggle with an unknown futuristic threat.

The audience is left in the dark much like Kolker's Chloe who reveals herself to be a strangely superpowered child character of unknown origin. What the post-apocalyptic world or dangers outside exist seem unreliable as more is dramatically revealed about the state of the world beyond the film's intimate setting.

A very creepy Bruce Dern grounds the strange thriller as a snowcone truck vendor. He clearly has more dubious intentions and some sort of connection to the family than first introduced. Amanda Crew really dials it up in a strange but highly stressed performance as a captive woman mentally linked to Chloe's psyche. All the mysterious elements and unknowable character elements keep the audience guessing.

Freaks works mostly as a cryptic showcase for the directors' talents for inventively executing as much superheroic action and style on as low a budget as possible. It's a claustrophobic thriller used to enhance the acting talents of its limited cast while building tension for a building resolution to the supernatural family drama.

Freaks screens at the 2018 Vancouver International Film Festival as part of the Sea to Sky and BC Spotlight streams.

More | YVArcade / io9 / Indiewire / Verge

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