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Freak Out
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Freak Out (2004)

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Plot Summary:
"Two best friends, Merv Doody (James Heathcote) and Onkey (Dan Palmer), take a hapless escaped mental patient under their wing and attempt to teach him how to become a real serial killer."

Review by
Phil Davies Brown
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Review Date: 28 April 2006 My Rating: out of 5


When fanboy Merv finds an escaped mental patient in his shower, he and best mate Onkey set about creating the perfect serial killer. The only trouble is that their 'Looney' is a camp vegetarian.

Imagine a 16 year old film buff trips, falls and cracks his head open on the pavement leaving his brains all over the place. Now imagine that instead of brain matter we could see his thoughts splashed all over the place. That's about the only way I can even begin to describe what Freak Out resembles.

Definitely one of the most original films I have seen lately, Freak Out looks like early Peter Jackson filmed on the set of 80's Aussie comedy show Round the Twist, fused with an episode of Spaced.

The gags fly thick and fast, but I personally found the more subtle and visual jokes worked better here, such as the sign which tells us Onkey's place of employment is called Salem's Slot, or the signs in the supermarket printed with such gems as 'You can't beat our meat'.

The acting really shouldn't work, but it does, in a Muriel's Wedding kind of way and come to think of it, nothing else makes sense either although it fits in with the crazy environment set up by the writers. The rather unhealthy obsession with Larry Hagman also made little sense to me, but allowed for some very funny signage regardless.

By far the strongest aspect of Freak Out is its zany aesthetic style and snappy editing as Christian James and his co-horts demonstrate that they are clever and resourceful and they also manage to be highly original, despite using a heck of a lot of stuff from other movies.

I'm really pleased that these guys hard work has paid off, as the task they undertook was no easy feat. The shoot lasted four years but it all paid off, as this hits the streets via Anchor bay DVD on May 29th and the DVD is an excellent package. It's one of the best value for money releases I've ever seen, so make sure you support British indie horror and snap up a copy.

Reviewer: Steven Davies @braindeadsteve
Location:Luton, UK
Review Date: 20 October 2004 My Rating: out of 5

It is so ironic in this day and age that moviemakers pour hundreds of thousands of pounds into their films and end up with dull, uninteresting, unmemorable piles of movie debris. And that's why it is such a relief to have the low-budgeters, doing the business, squeezing out the crap and scraping of the unnecessary over-the-top effects freak-show that's usually on display in most summer blockbusters.

And so of course movies like The Blair Witch Project, The Evil Dead, Clerks and Eraserhead, all created on a shoestring budget, manage to capture the audiences' imagination and become absolute solid-gold cult classics in their own right. But what's next in line? How about Christian James and Dan Palmers' universally appealing Freak Out?

Freak Out is cheap 'n nasty, well according to its tagline anyway. But it is significantly cheap and delightfully twisted. The story involves two pals Merv and Onkey who take in a recently escaped mental patient and try to shape him into the ultimate serial killer. Unfortunately they find this task harder work than they had anticipated when it materializes that the wannabe killer is as soft as shite.

There has clearly been a lot of time and effort put into this movie. Usually a low-budget project offers very modest action and very minimalistic sequences and events but Freak Out completely rips down any conventional expectations. There is so much going on in every single scene it's almost exhausting to watch. Just as one uproarious moment ends we launch feet-first straight into the next.

With so many references and humour thrown into the mix of course it is hard to please all of the bum feelers all of the time and so there is the occasional eye-rolling gag or avoidable sequence. However, even with a cheap gag here and there it more than makes up for it with some excellent gory effects, superb editing and a first-rate soundtrack. As a whole it seems to bring the tongue in cheek style and attitude that is so evident all wrapped together in a neat little movie package.

Freak Out is another prime example of what importance and magnitude can be achieved on an undersized budget. The jokes and slapstick are churned out thick and fast and it's all packaged extremely well with some top notch editing. All in all a hugely impressive 92 minutes of sick humour, and hilarious horror moments. Absolutely bound to be loved by bum feelers everywhere.

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