RIIFF Movie Review: Freak Out

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Director: Christian James
Starring: James Heathcote, Dan Palmer, Nicola Connell, Yazz Fetto
IMDB | Official Site

2004 is a good year for horror/comedy films from the U.K. First, megahit Shaun of the Dead took both the UK and the US by storm. Now, with a smaller budget and smaller release, comes Freak Out, a movie featuring perhaps the world’s first (and only) Larry Hagman-obsessed vegetarian serial killer.

Freak Out made its US premier at the Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF).

Horror-obsessed slacker Merv Doody hits the jackpot when a real-life escaped mental patient turns up in his shower. Just how deranged the man is, though, quickly becomes disappointingly clear to Merv: our soon-to-be-killer loves showtunes, Dallas, has no idea how to murder, and wears a potato sack on his head.

Bored and craving excitement like he’s seen in his favorite movies, Merv and his best friend Onkey set out to turn their mental patient into a true serial killer. And what a funny, bloody job it is.

In my review of The Goon, I mentioned that I don’t like horror comedy. It’s still true. But from its joking references to great horror films like Evil Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Dead Alive, and Dawn of the Dead to its send ups of horror cliches, Freak Out is surprisingly funny.

Though it’s a bit slow to get going, and runs on too long (conciseness is the soul of wit, after all), Freak Out is a funny film which will appeal to horror fans and especially those who liked Shaun of the Dead.

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