Reviewed By Dead Kev
Bum-feelers! That's right, if you're reading this right
now.you're a bum-feeler! By the way, while I'm saying that
I'm laughing hysterically and pointing at you. Yeah, I know
you can't see me, just trust me though.
What a ridiculous way to start a review, right? Sure it
is, but after watching Freak Out I'm in a bit of
a nutty mood. It made me a little slaphappy me thinks. If
you haven't heard about Freak Out yet, you have now
and I'm confident you'll be hearing more and more about
it in the near future. It's a hilarious new independent
horror/comedy film from the UK, straight out of the warped
minds of Christian James and Dan Palmer. Both of whom wore
several hats on the production. James directed and Dan pulled
acting duties, while both produced and collaborated to write
At its core, Freak Out is a heartfelt story of two
best friends, Merv Doody (James Heathcote) and Onkey (Dan
Palmer), striving to make their home, the isle of Redwater
Cove, a better place. No, I'm lying. It IS about two friends
named Merv and Onkey, but the story centers on their pet
project of taking a hapless (and very effeminate) escaped
mental patient under their wing and teaching him how to
be a real serial killer. That is indeed a noble cause, the
world needs more good citizens like Merv and Onkey.
I've always wondered how one would go about finding a down-and-out
mental case so I could help train him on ways of murder
and mayhem. Merv's so damn lucky; he finds one in his shower!
A huge slasher film geek, Merv is excited about finding
this psychopathic monster, however the feeling is quickly
dispelled when he finds out that this serial killer couldn't
find his way out of a wet paper bag. Or better yet, a potato
sack.which is what he's wearing on his head. But boy, does
he know his way around a kitchen! As the light bulb turns
on in Merv's head, he knows that there will never be a better
time to put his extensive horror movie knowledge to work.
It's a wild ride of butchery and bloodshed as Onkey helps
Merv transform their newfound friend into a real-life horror.
It's rare that I laugh as much at a movie as I did during
Freak Out. I think I literally busted a gut. That
would certainly explain the stain on my chair. It's so silly
and so absurd, but it's absolutely hilarious. It's such
a goofy script, yet at the same time it's very intelligent.
It's a comical send-up of classic horror films like Evil
Dead, Friday the 13th, and the like. Unlike movies
like Scary Movie though, it's more than just a satire,
much more than just a parody. Those films make the gags
the centerpiece and the plot seems more like an afterthought,
while Freak Out uses the gags to compliment a genuinely
funny storyline. So there's plenty below the surface, and
it has a much more natural flow to it. The jokes come in
bunches, a lot of them random and out of nowhere, but they
aren't forced down the audience's throat. Instead, they
sneak right up behind you.then smack you in the back of
For an independent film, the most surprising aspect for
me was the fact that the acting was great! Once I got used
to the accents (most likely not a problem for those in the
UK), I wasn't distracted by anyone's performance. Heathcote
and Palmer have very good onscreen chemistry (perhaps more
than we realize?), and are quite believable as best buds.
Heathcote is praiseworthy as the loveable loser, and Palmer
does a first-rate job as the annoying sidekick who, more
often than not, is responsible for getting them into trouble.
The dialogue is all delivered with ease and director Christian
James does a terrific job guiding the film from behind the
camera. Lots of savvy camera work, deftly shot scenes, and
solid editing make for a visually stimulating journey, and
really go a long way in making you forget this isn't some
big-budget production. And as much as it's pleasing to the
eye, it's just as pleasing to the ear. Composer Stuart Fox's
work on the film is some sweet ear candy.
Freak Out doesn't always play it safe, as there are
several obscure references and politically incorrect gags.
And in the bravest move of all, it managed to take an antique
television icon, Larry Hagman (of Dallas fame), dust
him off, and make him a main theme throughout the movie.
While he's not actually in the film himself, his very existence
plays a large role. This is someone who, for the most part,
has been out of popular culture for a while now. To resurrect
his iconic status and bank on it for a lot of the laughs
is ballsy to say the least. It works and the gamble pays
off big. That's a huge testament to the cleverness of the
script. And if you're an 80s fan like myself, you'll be
happy to know that there are many other 80s tributes in
the film as well. Larry's in fine company.
Another point of admiration is the restraint they must have
used not to tap into the now overused gross-out humor that
is so prevalent these days in comedies. Yes, the humor is
at times very juvenile, but it doesn't stoop into the realm
of low-browdom.very often. While I'm aching to describe
some of the film's gags, every one that I want to mention
is too good to ruin. Trust me, it's better to see the movie
having no clue what will pop up next. You'll thank me for
it after you see it yourself.
So what have we got so far? How about a great script, cool
music, solid acting, some arse piranhas, a few zombies,
plenty of horror spoofs, and a serial killer that's a tad
light in his loafers. That's enough for me, I smell an Oscar.
No wait, that's me, I must have soiled myself during the
movie. Regardless, Freak Out's a winner and is destined
to be a fan favorite!
|As long as you're not a stickler for "serious"
humor, you'll laugh laugh your ass off. If you're
looking for zombies, it's got 'em, but just a few
and in a very minor subplot towards the end. Freak
Out's a new favorite of mine and I know I'll be
re-watching it many times in the future.
|1. Never gamble your money in a drinking contest
2. When in a battle with a serial killer, humming
the theme song to Dallas soothes the savage beast...sometimes.
3. Don't let your friends start a massacre at your
workplace during your first day on the job.
|-"Why don't you just slap on a Tampax and watch
Dirty Dancing, you big girl."
-"You never get laid off by a boss...with no head!"
-"Meat is murder!"
-"I really must get my hands on your Ghoulies."
|• Freak Out premiered on August
7, 2003 at The Harbour Lights Picturehouse in Southampton,
|• While the main cast consists of unknowns,
Freak Out features two pretty cool cameos.
|• Filming took three years to complete
and the budget was raised completely by the cast and
crew. It was shot in southern England on 16mm film.
|Christian James Interview - Arrow
in the Head
|Dan Palmer Interview - Arrow
in the Head
||Old Man Wilson
||Looney Doll (voice)
|Beyond Therapy Entertainment
|COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
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