Freaks (2018) — Dad and daughter hide from the outside world

“Go away ghost!”

Justin’s rating: I thrust my fists against the post and still insist I see the ghost

Justin’s review: From the very first minute of Freaks, it’s clear that not all is well and normal in the Lewis household. The outside doesn’t seem to ever change, for starters, and young Chloe is forbidden from leaving. The house is falling apart from the inside. There are strict rules she must follow and details she has to memorize about a fake mom and sister. A ghost pops out of her safe room every once in a while, and her dad bleeds from his eyes.

Yet her father clearly loves her and isn’t the threat. He insists that the real danger is “out there,” and that he’s doing what he can to keep her safe and prepare her for the day she will leave. In the meanwhile, they seemingly enjoy a loving relationship — albeit one in which Chloe’s mother is conspicuously absent.

The more this abnormal situation continues, the more the stokes of the fire of our curiosity grow. What’s going on here? What does all of this mean? Is it really dangerous outside, and if so, what’s the danger?

Without spoiling too much, one day the frozen world outside of her house unfreezes and a gift drops into her mail slot from “Mr. Snowcone,” the ice cream truck that always is parked out front. This tempts Chloe to venture beyond her front doorstep against her father’s will. What she finds is certainly dangerous, and not in the way that she expects. She also discovers that there’s something incredibly special about her and her father.

They are, as the title suggests, freaks. And the world doesn’t take too kindly to their kind.

Past that I don’t want to say too much, because Freaks is best enjoyed going in as blind as possible. It puts the viewer on the same level as Chloe, who doesn’t quite understand the “why” behind the rules and situation until it’s almost too late. Suffice to say, there are a lot of great ideas here as we discover them alongside this little girl. And what I thought was going to be a post-apocalyptic film of sorts ended up transitioning into a different kind of genre altogether.

It’s a good, though not great, movie that can’t quite nail all of its points as well as it wants to. Yet it certainly kept me riveted from start to finish, especially on the strength of child actor Lexy Kolker. This is an underrated scifi flick that oozes with mystery and tension, and I’m glad I saw how it played out.

Didja notice?

  • The unmoving birds in the opening shot
  • All of the drawings in Chloe’s room
  • He can only protect her while he’s awake
  • She can only play with her friend in the middle of the night
  • “Drone targets house in Seattle”
  • The “see something, say something” billboard
  • “Remembering Dallas” news report

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