Did this do well at the box office? What’s the general consensus among reviewers? I don’t know. What I do know is anyone who gave this a bad review is on crack. Huge amounts of crack. Fuckin’ huuuuge amounts, I tell you! Listen to no one else, but DVD News Flash. Remember DVD News Flash is your reviewing God. Never forget that.
I didn’t hear of this flick until last October when Sony decided to put it out ahead of schedule. From what I understand this was pegged for a 2016 release. Don’t know why got it bumped up, but it did, and here we are. Also I understand this was initially called The Kitchen Sink, as in ‘they’ve thrown in everything but the kitchen sink.’ I’m sure that was a working title. An apropos one nevertheless, but after seeing it last night not everything was “thrown in,” but I’ll get to that later. Then again I’m not 100% on board with the Freaks Of Nature title either. Honestly, though, I’m at a loss for words what a “suitable title” would be for this crazy ass movie.
I had only one problem with it, though. Let’s get that out of the way first and forever. The prologue was pointless. The film didn’t need it, but filmmakers these days are under the false impression you need to start off a flick like this with some kind of a bang. But I tell you having a build up is more beneficial. The prologue starts off right in the middle of the movie’s insanity then flashes back to how we all got there. Another problem with prologues like this is the movie blows it’s wad to early, and now you’ve got nowhere to go but more of the same. Incidentally the SyFy channel is master at blowing it’s wad in the prologue then giving you nothing new for the rest of the running time. And I’m speaking strictly about the one note creature features made especially for the channel. A good genre movie, at least the kind that really grab my attention, should stroke its money shot, slowly and rhythmically, until about close to the middle (30-minutes the earliest) where it should blow a partial wad, then build up and blow some more and keep blowing it regularly until the end when a massive money shot should be made to spew all over the screen. Get where I’m coming from?
Having said that Freaks Of Nature doesn’t blow all its wad in that prologue, there was some left to be blown later and it did end with a massive money shot that left me reaching for something to towel my face off with.
Freaks Of Nature can be described on one level as a weird alternate reality where humans, zombies and vampires co-habitat in the world, sometimes peacefully other times not, like the diversity of ethnicity we have in our world here where it’s touch and go at any given time given the ever changing circumstances and the circumstances that are about change in this movie will have those three “species” at each others throats—wait, dammit, I’m getting ahead of myself again. I hate when I do that.
Before any of that happens we are introduced to the status quo of this world through the eyes of one Dag Parker (Nicholas Braun, who kind of reminded me of a young John Cusack), a teen who lives in Dillford, Ohio, the ‘Home Of The Riblits,’ something that’ll factor into the plot later on. Our other two main characters are also teens—Petra Lane (Mackenzie Davis) and Ned Mosely (Josh Fadem)—and they also go to the same school. Dag knew both of them. Ned was a close friend until Dag grew out of his nerd phase and they grew apart and Petra was a chick he knew in sixth grade from a party where they were shoved into a closet together and expected to get busy. They didn’t, but Petra was labeled a slut after that.
Zombies, vampires and humans interact freely at the same local school, with zombies being monitored by these neck collars they have to wear. I’m still at a loss, though, why vampire teens need to be in any kind of school, especially for the ones who’ve been alive for centuries? Boredom, who knows? And even more vexing is why the hell are they walking around in the daylight? At least that one is explained later on with V-Lotion, suntan lotion for vamps. Zombie teens going to school? I can kind of understand that given the rules they run by in this flick. A course called, Bio Of The Dead, teaches kids among other things if zombies are starved of their brains they get smarter, thus allowing a potential undead teen to actually learn. Speaking of semi-smart zombies by the looks of them I can imagine the motivation of their performance was probably “just act sorta drunk.”
Getting down to the nitty-gritty Dag has a crush on this super hot stoner chick named, Lorelie (Vanessa Hudgens); Petra has a crush on this centuries old vamp named Milan Pinache (Ed Westwick); and a zombie chick (Mae Whitman) has a crush on Ned but he doesn’t know it yet because he isn’t a zombie. Oops! Spoiler! That’s right Petra gets vampirized and Ned, to escape his shit family, just wants to stop feeling and gets that zombie girl to turn him. Dag, Ned and Petra finally come together when of all things aliens invade the town. Each “species” blames the other now for why the aliens are here. The vampires believe the humans brought them to wipe the planet of them, the humans think the vamps are in cohoots with the aliens to purge the Earth of them, and the zombies think, well, they’re little “town meeting” needs some prodding by the now zombiefied Ned who works them up to a frenzy blaming the humans and vampires for why their usual rations of canned brains have stopped being supplied to them in the compound they live. In that respect Vampire teacher Mr. Keller (Keegan-Michael Key), who has a hilarious scene in the beginning as he tells Ned why he gave him an F, is winding the vamps up in their town meeting, and the equally hilarious, Chaz Mosely, Sr. (Ian Roberts), is working the humans up in their town meeting in the school’s gym. His comedy gold moment comes when he’s eaten by a band of zombies. Here’s a taste as the zoms munch on his guts: “Why aren’t I passing out . . . he just put some intestines back and took some different intestines! What the fuck difference does it matter?!” This all culminates in a life and death, mostly death, confrontation in the center of town by everyone. Dag just wants to stay alive and keep Lorelei alive too since she was in the process of giving up her pornstar body to him; Petra blames Lorelei for her condition since Milan revealed to her he’s nailed her many, many, many, many times in the past, and Petra just doesn’t do anything for him anymore; Ned is just going around eating as many brains as possible with his new zombie “family.” Now the movie has caught up to the prologue and all three (noticed I said three, poor Lorelei seemingly doesn’t make it thanks to Petra’s bloodlust. Seemingly) cower for their lives in the hidden basement of Dag’s piano teacher’s house as the aliens walk around seemingly vaporizing anyone they encounter.
No, man, these aliens are cool though. They just came to earth for the tetrafluoraxipan (TXP) Meat Plant owner, Rick Wilson (Denis Leary), puts in the riblets to make them taste nice and meaty. Strange thing, though, the tech of the aliens is advanced enough to pinpoint the exact town riblets are made in, but not advanced enough to pinpoint the location of the actual plant. Hmmm. I wonder if they’re from the same planet the aliens from Signs (2002) are from. Remember them? Those fuckers had problems getting past something so primitive as a door.
Now it’s up to a human(?), a vampire and a zombie to stop this invasion while overcoming their own inadequacies with each other and their shared past. So, basically a typical day for any one of them, just with aliens. The movie moves along at a damn fine speed, throwing us some curve balls in the process, while keeping the arcs of all three playing out right till the end. And the aliens . . . well, they’re revealing arc in the final act is just pure comedy genius, especially when the denizens of earth decide to push their luck The World’s End (2014) style and tells them to fuck off!!
Is it gory? Yes, but using the recently reviewed Deathgasm (2015) as a gore barometer, basically because that’s the goriest flick I’ve seen recently, no, not as much. But you do get vampires exploding in showers of blood when you stake them, the mass comedy devouring of the aforementioned Chaz Sr., and Ned contributes to the gore too by devouring some brains of people that were, perhaps, better left untouched. The CGI in the flick was very convincing, the brunt of that is seen in the aliens, their Independence Day ship, and the eyes of the vampires when they vamp out, which is kind of creepy.
Back on February 9th Sony released Freaks Of Nature in separate DVD and Blu-ray editions!
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 2.40:1 high definition widescreen—5.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio, 5.1 French Dolby Digital, 5.1 Japanese Dolby Digital, 5.1 Spanish Dolby Digital, 5.1 Thai Dolby Digital—English, English SDH, Chinese, French, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai subs
Extras include . . .
- Gag Reel (3:39)
- Deleted Scenes (2 scenes only/3:53)
- Alternate Opening (2:37)
The Alternate Opening is even more pointless than the prologue, but at least they chose the lesser of the two evils. The only redeeming quality of this other opening is it explains how the vampires and zombies came to interact with the humans, and that the collars the zombies wear in school are shock collars. But this movie works better without we the viewer knowing how all these dynamics work. It’s oddly too much. This is a movie you either get going in or you don’t. The details aren’t important. In a sequel they might be.
The Gag Reel is an extension of the bloopers running partly through the end credits.
Before I end this Best—Review—Ever, remember when I mentioned at the beginning they hadn’t quite thrown everything in? There are no ghosts, witches, Incubi, Succubi or any other demons and devils of any kind. Dag’s a werewolf, so that’s covered. The exclusion of the others means we need a sequel. Make it happen, Sony.
That’s it. I’m outta here.