Written and Directed by Adam Stein, Zach Lipovsky
Starring Emile Hirsch, Bruce Dern, Grace Park, Amanda Crew, Lexy Kolker
Chloe Lewis (Kolker) is seven years old. She has lived in an abandoned house with her father for her whole life. Every day she looks out the window of her house and sees life going on around her. One moment she sees a little girl from across the street getting a cone from an ice cream truck. She wishes for the girl to bring her ice cream. Next thing we see, the neighbor girl is at her door, with the ice cream cone in hand, ready to give it to Chloe.
Her father, Henry (Hirsch) prevents this, and he admonishes Chloe. Don’t open the door. Do not talk to anyone outside. They could lead to “the bad men,” who want to kill. Chloe is then sent to her room, where she battles with visions. Some of them are scary. Others include people she knows, like the girl from across the street. All of these indicate something big going on, outside in the world. And she still wants ice cream.
Freaks is a very good film, and an example of what a good script, actors, camera crew and imagination can do for a viewer for a relatively modest sum. There are very few effects shots in this film, but what they do is effective to draw the story forward without sacrificing character.
The performance of the film – and there are several good ones – belongs to Kolker. Her move from complete innocent to someone who realizes her power is intricately drawn. We have to believe that she is what everyone is afraid of, even though she herself is really only a child. The thought process in creating the environment in which she grows up is a great touch. I will not share it here.
Dern, Park and Hirsch also fill their roles with the appropriate menace. We have to be afraid of and for them, or this story would not work.
Stein and Lipovsky have molded their talents together to create a vision of a future that is not too different from the one we see today. The difference is the headlines we see on a daily basis telling us what to fear look different once we understand that fear is driven by who happens to be in charge at the time. It’s a lesson I struggle with daily.
If you want to enjoy challenging your mind, give this film a look.
(**** out of *****)