The current rise in populism goes to show that as a society we are inherently suspicious of outsiders or people who are different from ourselves. This prejudice is often determined by appearance but sometimes it cuts much deeper. It’s a subject extensively tackled by superhero comics and genre cinema over the years. In Zach Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein’s new film Freaks there are those living amongst us who have special powers.

Chloe (Lexy Kolker) lives with her father (Emile Hirsch) in their rundown and boarded-up home. He has many ground rules but the main one is that she’s never allowed to leave the house. It’s not safe outside. She is desperate to have a normal life and make friends but unhappily accedes to his demands. However, one day the temptation of an ice-cream van is too much and she meets the driver, Mr Snowcone (Bruce Dern). Her life is changed forever.

Freaks is an exhilarating mix of dystopian mystery, sci-fi thriller and paranoid fantasy chiller. This multi-layered approach allows Lipovsky and Stein to keep their cards close to their chests before letting the cat out of the bag. The (often) semi improvised acting adds a veneer of authenticity, whilst the story is full of twists and turns which keeps you hooked. Freaks is genre film-making of the highest quality. Inventive, imaginative and impressive.

Freaks is out in US theatres on 13 September.


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