Freaks of Nature
Directed by: Robbie Pickering
Run time: 93 minutes
The Lowdown: Some movies just sound better on paper.
Case in point, Freaks of Nature, a high school-based fantasy that wants to invoke memories of
John Hughes while cashing in on every current horror fad possible.
Dag is your typical high school misfit. He loves the girl who is out of his league. He gets bullied by
the popular boys. And he’s abandoned his former friends because they’re too geeky.
Dag also happens to live in a fictional town where vampires attend school and zombies have been
relegated to internment camps.
What follows is a pretty routine and sadly dumbed-down origin story about Dag learning his true
destiny amid an impending alien invasion that forces the vampires and zombies to band together
with the humans in order to survive.
Coming so soon on the heels of the funnier and superior “Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse,”
Freaks of Nature just suffers by comparison. Its humor is so low-brow that it literally scrapes by
on tired clichés. The few attempts at actual character development fall flat and the horror
elements are played more for laughs than scares.
I guess it’s admirable that such a mish-mash of a movie even got made in the first place – imagine
if it was actually good – but far more care should have been invested in its story and structure to
ensure Freaks of Nature didn’t just become another bargain bin title.
The Stuff You Care About:
Hot chicks – Kind of.
Nudity – No.
Gore – Yes.
Drug use – No.
Bad Guys/Killers – Take your pick, vampires, zombies and aliens.
Buy/Rent – Neither.
Crimson Peak (Universal, 119 minutes, R, Blu-Ray): Man, I used to love any release by Guillermo del
Toro. Both “Hellboy” movies were spectacular realizations of one of my favorite characters. His
Spanish-language films were top-notch spooky and ridiculously original. Then came “Pacific Rim”
– giant robots battling giant monsters!! – and I was decidedly underwhelmed. I “liked” the movie,
but I didn’t loooove the movie. Fair enough, every film can’t be a grand slam. But now comes
Crimson Peak, a gothic ghost story, and once again I find myself wanting more. The story, in my
opinion, suffers from far too much exposition. It takes nearly 30 minutes to reach the haunted
mansion at the heart of del Toro’s story, and while the set itself is a resounding success and a
testament to the magic of moviemaking, I found the early ghosts somewhat meh and, honestly, I
fell asleep – twice! – just trying to get to the good stuff. That should not happen. Not with a
movie by one of your favorite directors. Yet, it did, and now I’m faced with the prospect of going
back to the well for a third attempt or simply shelving the disc and chalking it up to another
missed opportunity from a true visionary.
Spectre (MGM, 148 minutes, PG-13, Blu-Ray): In the canon of James Bond films starring Daniel
Craig, Spectre falls likely third on the list. It lacks the feverish pace and gritty realism of Craig’s
introduction in “Casino Royale,” arguably the best Bond movie in two decades, and its efforts to fill
in the blanks of Bond’s backstory don’t have the same urgency as “Skyfall.” In a way, it feels like
the middle film of a trilogy, with the more spectacular conclusion still to come. Spectre does
include, however, one of the best openings in recent Bond memory with a dizzy, pulse-pounding,
expertly-staged battle over the streets of Mexico City. It’s definitely worth a watch or an addition
to your collection; it’s just not the be all, end all Bond that many people likely hoped for and
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