★★ / ★★★★
Written and directed by Zach Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein, “Freaks” is unable to shake off the feeling of an extended television pilot despite offering mid- to high-level enthusiasm during its creative final third. The story involves a seven-year-old girl named Chloe (Lexy Kolker) who is raised to be fearful of the outside world by her father (Emile Hirsch) due to her unique powers. People like Chloe are referred to as “Abnormals”—hunted and killed by the government (Grace Park) because of their potential as walking weapons of mass destruction. A curious premise does not save the picture’s slow and laborious first half which takes place inside a suffocating house—which is the point—boarded up from top to bottom (even the mail slot is blocked with duct tape eventually) in which ideas are repeated like clockwork. The point, I suppose, is to show Chloe’s budding powers, and her occasional lack of awareness when using her abilities, but after three to four incidences which communicate the same information, one cannot help but to feel as though the material is in desperate need of push and forward momentum. An efficient setup is just as important as the landing.