How can Director Christian James bring you a truly entertaining horror film on a 16mm camera? His formula is quite simple, an entertaining cast, fantastic directing, and some great gags make his first film Freak Out a big success.
What exactly is Freak Out? It’s a comedy with a little taste of horror from a film-school drop out (eh Kevin Smith?) that takes place on the isle of Redwater Cove, where a kid named Merv (James Heathcote) comes face to face with one of the worst killers to have ever attempted murder. Merv decides this is his chance to make something of all those wasted hours watching horror films, and him and his friend Onkey (Dan Palmer) take matters into their own hands, and decide to train the dubbed “Looney” killer to be something he might not be meant to be.
I flipped this flick in my VCR not expecting much from it, but the bottom line is, this movie is fun as hell and I actually popped it back in and watched it again today! Besides a plot that interests you from start to finish, the film is really f’n funny. More of a comedy than a horror flick, the film opens beautifully; the sequence shows a child getting food thrown at him for being an ass, and he vows revenge in 13 years, to that exact same location. When this kid returns 13 years later, to his dismay, the school has been torn down and there is nothing left, what’s left to do besides exclaim, “Oh Shit..”? I didnt expect to laugh at this movie, but found myself chucking out loud quite a few times. Another good laugh is when Onkey is trying to hear his friend Merv on the phone at the bowling alley where he works, so he walks out and tells everyone to “Shut the fuck up!” The jokes are pulled out of thin air, they are quick and witty, and most of all funny. There’s even a training sequence where Merv and “Looney” are going through options for new costumes, and weapons, funny funny stuff.
Having some great jokes doesn’t make a flick, look at Scary Movie 3 for example, what makes a flick is the perfect combination of things and one of those great things about Freak Out is the directing of Christian James, who knows how to liven up a flick with his perfect use of his 16mm camera. The film is very entertaining visually and the 16mm camera brings a early Peter Jackson feel to the film, with a directing style that is something of an early Sam Raimi. He even throws in a great scene as a throwback to Evil Dead, when you see it, you’ll laugh your ass off.
Christian James directs his cast wonderfully, and helps make James Heathcote (Merv) the perfect “geek,” in need of something more in his life. He also helps Dan Palmer (who’s also the co-writer and producer) achieve the perfect sidekick performance. Putting them both together, you get a sort of bizarro world Jay and Silent Bob, mixed with a Clerk like atmosphere, and I’m not saying anything is stolen, this is just the “feel” of the film. I also loved “Looney” in this flick. Although his entire performance was voiced over, the mix of his hysterical voice and his antics made for a really funny character, until he goes mad, and go mad he does!
The film was made in the UK, so unfortunatly I don’t know when you’re going to be able to see this flick for yourself. I personally think they should try selling this puppy to Troma, because it fits their style perfectly. Either way, this film is good enough to create some small buzz around low-budget horror film fans, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw this one on a your video shelves someday in the future. If you ever get the chance, make sure to check out Freak Out, you’ll be so fulfilled, it’ll leave you patting your stomach with pleasure.