It is rare that a horror-comedy can be done right. But with Freaks of Nature, they manage to balance both genres well. And unlike Scouts Guide, they rarely rely on cheap (or sexist) tactics to elicit laughs from the audience. Freak of Nature is a comedy not just for the boys, but for everyone.
Freaks of Nature is set in a world in which humans, vampires and zombies co-exist peacefully (for the most part). There is a pecking order with vampires at the top and zombies at the bottom, with humans surviving in the middle. All is well in Dilford, there are tensions, but they don’t go beyond basic insults to the different races. However, their town is turned upside down when aliens arrive, ruining any harmony that they have cultivated. With everyone at each other throats blaming each side for the aliens’ arrival, it is up to 3 teenage outcasts to rid their town of these visitors.
The first thing I loved about Freaks of Nature, is the comedy. It is oddball but not so weird that you cannot relate. We have the vampire teacher who is sick of dealing with students and makes his feelings known with tirades and marking down papers unfairly. Then there is the supportive parents who are high on drugs and life, the arrogant rich businessman who can’t understand why no one praises him constantly and the simple-minded parents who don’t understand why everyone doesn’t want to be a jock. All these eccentric characters, make the outcast feeling of the main three protagonists felt more keenly. But also give us a lot of laughs along the way.
If you are a child of the 80s or just love 80s movies, you will love Freaks of Nature. The town does feel like a scene out of any 80s coming of age teenage drama, with a bit of a breakfast club feeling thrown into the mix. Dag, the school nerd, Petra, the vampire lover and Ned, the egg head, are thrown together in this mixture of chaos and death. As you find out, they have a history with each other that still is present in their minds, and which makes them unlikely to get along. But with the threat of impending doom, they band together to solve the mystery of why the aliens are here. Even though it is filled with fantastical creatures, this is a very down to earth story of friendship and community, that manages to not get too hammy.
Freaks of Nature is more on the comedy side of things than horror, but it does have its moments. There are no real scares, but that is to be expected since it is a light-hearted comedy rather than a black comedy. It more relies on gruesome grossness to get a reaction, such as bloody deaths, copious brain-eating and slimy monster aliens. Thankfully, this grossness is achieved well with the special effects. Freaks of Nature does not have a small budget in comparison to a lot of horror-comedies that are made on a shoestring budget. The extra dough is definitely worth it, as you never feel like they are cutting corners with the various monsters.
However, out of all of the good points of this movie, the three main characters are probably my favourite. Nicholas Braun, Mackenzie Davis and Josh Fadem are absolutely charming characters in this. Braun who plays Dag, the loser who wants to rise up the ranks and seduce the hot girl plays his part as the slightly out of sync wannabe really well. He also was responsible for a lot of the heartfelt moments, managing to segue easily from horror to comedy then drama with skill. Davis plays betrayed girlfriend who is cast aside and having to figure what it means to be a vampire. It would be easy to make this character very “woe is me” but she is a kickass lady vampire who stands her ground and has a heart of gold. Fadem as Ned is perhaps my least favourite of the three. He tends to come across as very whiny as an individual even though I ultimately did sympathize with him. Thankfully his hilarious antics as a zombie, more than make up for any emo side that he portrays.
It is not only the 3 main characters that are hilarious but also all the side characters too. There is so much comedy that comes from all the other actors, you wouldn’t be blamed for feeling a bit achy in the sides after a while. We have a lot of famous actors as side characters (this is usually criticized as a cheap tactic to garner more audience traction) but I think every actor worked their butts off to inject as much humour as possible into this. I won’t list every famous actor as there are a lot in Freaks of Nature, but I wonder if you will be able to spot Pat Healy from Cheap Thrills in this.
To sum up, Freaks of Nature is a horror-comedy that is wonderful, gross and hilarious all at once.
Freaks of Nature is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.