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Zach Lipovsky, Adam B. Stein
Emile Hirsch, Bruce Dern, Lexy Kolker
Writing Credits:
Zach Lipovsky, Adam B. Stein

A bold girl discovers a bizarre, threatening, and mysterious new world beyond her front door after she escapes her father's protective and paranoid control.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Dolby 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 105 min.
Price: $14.98
Release Date: 12/10/2019

• Audio Commentary with Writers/Directors Zach Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein
• “Behind the Scenes” Featurette
• Previews & Trailers


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Freaks [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 8, 2020)

Despite their shared titles, 2019’s Freaks bears no other connection to the 1932 Tod Browning classic. Instead, the 2019 tale brings a sci-fi effort.

Chloe Lewis (Lexy Kolker) lives in a ratty old house with her father Henry (Emile Hirsch). Henry keeps Chloe cooped up in their home, as he claims unspecified dangers exist out in the world.

Chloe resents this treatment and craves life as a normal kid. When she hears the tones of an ice cream truck, she escapes her prison-like home and launches into an unpredictable adventure.

If I review, say, a James Bond movie, I don’t worry too much about spoilers. Sure, I try to avoid specific plot points, but in the end, we know 007 will prevail and get the girl, too, so there’s only so much room for surprises.

Something wholly original like Freaks becomes a different matter, especially because parts of its story require the viewer to suss out fantasy versus reality. With fresh characters and situations, we go into the film with zero preconceptions, so the intrepid movie critic finds it more necessary to dance gingerly around potential spoilers.

Which makes said intrepid critic’s life more difficult. However, that’s why they pay him the big bucks!

Freaks indeed provides a story with plenty of surprises along the way, though it answers some of the questions earlier in the story than I might anticipate. At the start, we find ourselves in the situation whereby we don’t know if Henry protects Chloe from genuine dangers or if he’s a kook, and the film resolves this issue more quickly than one would expect.

This probably becomes a good choice, because that circumstance seems likely to become tiresome if stretched out too long. While the issue of Henry’s sanity and the threats of the world create a compelling mystery, after a while, they’d grow stale, so I feel pleased that the filmmakers give us a concrete answer in a relatively expeditious manner.

Unfortunately, once we know whether Henry protects against real or imaginary dangers, the film becomes less interesting. Not that it goes off the rails entirely, but Freaks fares best when it forces the viewer to question reality.

Don’t take this to mean that everything turns clear-cut and obvious once the basic mystery leaves the story, though, as Freaks continues to dollop out story information. While we may no longer look at the issue of Henry’s motives/sanity, other concerns arise, and those manage to create a decent narrative.

However, the plot simply loses a lot of effectiveness as it goes, mainly because it feels more like a traditional sci-fi influenced thriller. Again, I don’t want to spill too many beans, but the tale seems less and less interesting as it reveals more answers.

Still, there’s enough action and intrigue to keep us afloat, and a good cast helps. Young Kolker carries the movie and ensures a solid performance as our conflicted youngster, while Dern, Hirsch and others ground the piece.

In the end, Freaks becomes a spotty thriller but not a bad one. While I wish it maintained its unconventional air longer than it does, the end result remains pretty watchable.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

Freaks appears in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The film came with a fairly good image.

For the most part, sharpness seemed positive. Occasionally, I saw a bit of softness, especially during interiors.

However, the majority of the film delivered nice clarity and accuracy. I saw no jagged edges or moiré effects, and the presentation lacked source defects.

In terms of palette, Freaks tended to mix teal and orange. This never became a dynamic set of hues, but the colors seemed appropriately rendered.

Blacks appeared dark and tight, while shadows looked smooth and clear. In the end, the image remained generally solid.

Overall, Freaks came with a fairly restrained DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundscape. The mix did pop to life on occasion.

Some violent scenes used the various channels well, and a few other scenes brought us pretty involving use of the different speakers. However, those remained in the minority, as most of the track focused on music and general ambience.

Audio quality seemed satisfactory. Music was full and rich, while effects appeared accurate and dynamic.

Dialogue always came across as smooth and natural. Nothing here dazzled, but the soundtrack worked fine for the story.

A few extras fill out the disc, and we launch with an audio commentary from writers/directors Zach Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at the film’s path to the screen, story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, music and audio, various effects, and related domains.

Energetic and engaged, Lipovsky and Stein provide a pretty terrific commentary. They delve into the different filmmaking elements with gusto and make this an informative discussion of the movie.

A Behind the Scenes featurette runs 15 minutes, 29 seconds and offers notes from Stein, and actors Lexy Kolker, Grace Park, Amanda Crew and Bruce Dern.

“Scenes” examines story/characters, cast and performances, the work of the directors, and various stunts/effects. A few good shots from the set emerge along with a handful of insights, but most of “Scenes” feels fairly superficial.

The disc opens with ads for Abigail, First Love and The Divine Fury. We also get two trailers for Freaks.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Freaks. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

As a sci-fi based thriller, Freaks shows promise, and at its worst, it remains reasonably involving. However, it loses steam as it goes and can’t sustain our attention as well as the first act allows up to hope it will. The Blu-ray comes with fairly positive picture and audio as well as a terrific audio commentary. Though erratic, Freaks does enough right to entertain to a reasonable degree.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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