“Freaks is a pungent sci-fi horror flick with multiple layers of misdirection. It took me half its length to figure out what was going on and the other half to work out what it might mean.
The last bit is easier than it looks: not much, except the film demonstrates with flair and a certain flamboyance its two creators are ready for work of a more substantial, and remunerative, nature.
Its success rests on an astonishing performance by Lexy Kolker, who was seven when the film was shot. Kolker is the spitting image of Drew Barrymore at the same age and she has a similar truth on screen: great vulnerability and emotional range and a blazing temper, which can unleash the character’s dark superpower. Chloe (Kolker) has no idea she has this power. Her father (Emile Hirsch) has kept her locked away in a house for seven years, filling her with dread about the outside world.
Their world has a certain screwy, fetid logic, but then the directors start to mess with our heads, via some neat visual effects. There appear to be a number of dimensions of time and space here – and we’re not quite sure which one is real.
There’s very little to improve on, except perhaps in the area of conviction.