FREAK

2 Stars
Year Released: 1999
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 85 minutes
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A psychotic mental patient escapes while be transported, terrorizing a rural Ohio town. He crosses paths with two sisters, passing through the area toward a new life in Virginia, kidnapping one to act out his frightening childhood.
Setting the tone for the remainder of the film, the opening sequence, set nine years earlier, is a gruesome and disturbing look into the background of the title character. In it, Mavis Keller chains the boy, who wears a patched hood over his head, to the floor of an upstairs bedroom in the unfurnished, run-down house. It appears that this is punishment for him leaving the house earlier in the day. Later in the night, Mavis gives birth to a child, whom she puts in a bag, tossing it in a burning barrel outside. As Mavis lay in bed, from which we see a dream sequence where the boy’s horrible disfigurement is briefly revealed, she awakes to find him standing by her bed. The baby is also there, still in the bag, crying. The boy, delivering multiple blows to Mavis’ head with a rock, kills her. Now nine years later, the grown freak resides in a mental hospital in Ohio, still covering his face and never speaking a word. Jason (Travis Patton) an orderly and parolee is charged with transporting the Keller boy to another hospital. During the trip, Keller escapes, kills two people and steals a truck. Jason, facing the consequence that he will loose his job and in turn jeopardize his parole, keeps the escape from the hospital and the police.
Keller, now on the run with Jason after him, happens upon two other travelers on the road. Staci (Amy Paliganoff) and her younger adopted sister, Jodi (Andrea Johnson), whose parents have recently passed away, are passing through on their way to Virginia. This is where things take a frightening turn as Keller kidnaps Jodi and returns to his childhood home. Staci, with or without Jason’s help, must track Keller down to save Jodi in order to hold together what little she has left in this world without her parents.
The opening sequence and the end are by far the best this film has to offer. In fact the beginning where most of the action takes place in the cave-like confines of the Keller home, could be a short film on its own. After, the film drags a bit, with drawn out bonding sessions between Staci and Jodi, leaving little to hold the attention of the viewer, until the chilling show down between Staci and Keller at the end.



Posted on October 25, 1999 in Reviews by
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