Stars: Jamie Blackley, Sean Teale , Michael Smiley, Danielle Bux | Written and Directed by Justin Edgar
Review by Andrew MacArthur of Cinehouse
Justin Edgar’s We Are the Freaks sets out to challenge the conventions of the traditional teen-comedy, and it mostly does so with a cheeky sense of humour and fond nostalgia for the nineties.
We Are the Freaks follows working class Jack (Blackley) who dreams of going to university yet struggles to get funding. Jack’s best-friend Chunks (Teale) who dubs himself a “textbook underachiever” suggests a night-out that begins with gate crashing a party.
The setting of the early 1990s provides an exciting twist on the traditional teen comedy, allowing Edgar to pack his film with a soundtrack including the likes of New Order and The Happy Mondays which certainly adds a distinct and likeable character to the film. This era also means that Edgar can pack his screenplay with gags relevant to the nineties (as well as the usual teen comedy gross-out humour) resulting in a bizarre, yet rather amusing subplot involving Jack’s friend Parson’s unhealthy sexual attraction to Margaret Thatcher.
Edgar’s distinct directorial style makes a refreshing change from what you would find in many other teen comedies. Direct dialogue to the camera is one such method, whilst Edgar’s eye for impressive visuals can also be seen – especially in the film’s earlier scenes showing Jack’s mind at work in a drab office.
Despite being mostly amusing in its first two acts, We Are the Freaks soon takes a darker turn in its conclusion that feels somewhat out of place with the film’s prior quirky and light-hearted tone. In building up to this moment it also appears that many of the gags have lost their steam – mainly as the characters hit respective low points.
For the most part the characters are all likeable and amusingly crafted. Jamie Blackley is an up-and-coming talent to watch – delivering a mature performance that is equally perfect when tackling either comedy or more emotional-heavy dramatic scenes. Sean Teale also displays a stellar comic ability, especially in hilarious sequences dealing with Adam Gillen’s character Splodger (the brother of his crush, whose personality verges on psychotic).
We Are the Freaks is an amusing and charmingly nostalgic look at the nineties, even if it does seem to run out of steam towards the end.