Freak Out Movie Review
Written by Daniel Benson
Directed by Christian James
Written by Christian James & Dan Palmer
2004, 92 Minutes, Not rated
James Heathcote as Merv Doody
Dan Palmer as Onkey
Nicola Connell as Abby
Yazz Fetton as The Sheriff
Desmond Cullum-Jones as Old Man Wilson
Merv Doody (James Heathcote) is a loser. He lives with his Grandmother and spends his time watching horror videos in his attic bedroom. His only companion is Onkey (Dan Palmer), an equally no-hoper friend, who works at the local amusement arcade.
But life changes for the two friends, when an escaped lunatic turns up in Merv's shower. Being the horror fans they are, the pair decide to train The Looney to be their very own serial killer. But this will be no ordinary killer, this is an camp psychopath with a lisp and a penchant for Larry Hagman. His weapon of choice...a spatula.
When things get out of hand with The Looney, Merv and Onkey decide to release him back into the wild. The killer isn't too happy about this and returns to their town to hunt down his original owners...
If you like your horror with a dark vein of humour running through it, give this movie a miss. If you like to watch horror which has a tongue-in-cheek approach to its subject matter, don't bother with this movie. If you want to see a horror movie that firmly grasps the silliness dial and cranks it up to eleven, then this is the movie for you!
It seems a bunch of first timers have cobbled together enough money and equipment to go out and make their own feature film, and as luck would have it, they've ended up with a minor cult classic on their hands. It's easy to apply that label to any independent movie that is a little different from the rest, but the following that Freak Out has picked up around University Campus and Film Festival screenings will ensure it is a success when it is released in January 2006.
At first look, the feel of the film is very reminiscent of Peter Jackson's Bad Taste due to the fact it was shot on 16mm and not the ever popular digital video. That's where the comparison ends, whereas Jackson went for comedy and over the top gore, the makers of Freak Out have opted for utter stupidity and homages to their favourite movies. Send-ups vary from Evil Dead to Psycho, and there are numerous 'in-jokes' throughout the movie, which take a couple of viewings to spot.
The cast makes a pretty credible effort as far as acting is concerned, without making their performances too over the top. It seems to be the norm for low budget filmmakers get their actors to overact to mask a lack of talent, but this team manages to strike just the right balance, especially when it comes to comic timing. For complete unknowns they do the movie proud.
As far as the gore is concerned, they've saved it all up for the end of the movie when The Looney pays a visit to an impromptu party at Merv's house. It's a shame the budget only allowed for the party sequence and aftermath, because again they've made a fantastic job of the gore effects.
The sense of humour running through Freak Out definitely won't be for everyone, but if you fancy the idea of a movie which climaxes with hordes of Larry Hagman fans chasing a killer wearing a giant papier mache head of the Dallas star, then this one will be right up your street
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Not rated, as this was a DVD screener only. The movie has been picked up for distribution by Anchor Bay for a simultaneous UK and USA release in January 2006. The final product looks set to be packed with extra features.