Sea to Sky | BC Spotlight |
Kept under lock and key by her paranoid, unstable father (Emile Hirsch), seven-year-old Chloe (Lexy Kolker, a revelation) yearns to experience ice cream, friendship and the other simple pleasures of childhood. But when she finally ventures outside, she quickly realizes that she’s no ordinary girl and that what lies beyond the dead bolt is stranger still. She’s soon taken under the wing of Mr. Snowcone (Bruce Dern), who proves to be much more than an ice-cream vendor as he takes her on a warped Wonka-esque tour of that outside world and warns her of the presence of "freaks" who pass as normal but pose a grave threat.
Zach Lipovsky and Adam Stein’s skewed sci-fi thriller ratchets up the go-for-broke audacity as it blends the family drama of Room, genre confections indebted to vintage Spielberg and a fluidity of realities more commonly found in graphic novels. On more than one occasion, it feels as though Lipovsky and Stein have taken every Post-it note on their idea board and ran with it. The resulting allegory is deliriously entertaining and deceptively impassioned. And while there are elements that go down as easy as caffeinated comfort food, by its chaotic closing scenes Freaks has crafted an unsettling cracked-mirror world that leaves an impression.
"Lipovsky and Stein have a great time luring audiences in with slow drips of necessary context… Their sense of pacing is spot-on, and they exhibit a knack for calculated misdirection, with Timothy Wynn’s score helping them pull off some very effective head-fakes."—Andrew Barker, Variety