Director – Robbie Pickering
Cast – Nicholas Braun, Mackenzie Davis, Josh Fadem, Denis Leary, Ed Westwick, Vanessa Hudgens, Keegan-Michael Key, Rob Odenkirk, Joan Cusack, Chris Zylka, Ian Roberts, Rachael Harris, Patton Oswalt
Release Year – 2015
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Freaks of Nature does something I normally enjoy – it blends horror sub-genres. Zombies, vampires, and aliens in one film makes for a concoction that will either bode well, or make for an ambitious disaster. Thankfully, I enjoyed this one and what it did in blending these multiple elements. It has a few laughs and lots of gore, and that is usually enough for me.
In the town of Dilford, balance is everything. The vampires are the apex social class, the zombies are at the bottom, and humans have found themselves in the middle. Three days ago everything was “normal”, and then the aliens invaded. Now, chaos has taken over the town, with vampires, humans, zombies, and aliens leading an all-out war against each other. If they wish to survive the apocalypse, the dead and undead residents of Dilford must learn to work together.
From the get-go, you know you are in for a zany feature that you should not take too seriously. To start, vampires, humans, and zombies are living in harmony. The vampires are dicks, the humans get by, and the zombies are the morons waiting on brain rations. Dilford is quirky as hell, with its only notable asset being its local meat packing plant, run by egocentric Rick Wilson (Dennis Leary). The first 29 minutes are spent introducing our characters, and I was glad to see some variety in our protagonists. Each lead is colorful in their own way, just expect the usual stereotypes of high school aged-youths to be in play here. The aliens arrive at the 29 minute mark, and that is where the action kicks into gear. With an all-out royal rumble between vampires, humans, zombies, and aliens, this 92 minute effort never drags or loses steam. It’s an obvious horror/comedy, with the horror being much better than the comedy. I did laugh, but despite all of the chaos going on this is a bit tamer than other recent horror/comedies like Deathgasm. Sorry, you won’t be seeing zombies slayed with dildos here. That’s okay though, because writer Oren Uziel at least throws in a lot of gruesome deaths for us to enjoy.
Director Robbie Pickering does a good job of bringing this story to life. There is a lot going on, with different groups of warring peoples resulting in plenty of characters to follow. The pacing is just right, and so are the acting performances. I will say that while our leads, Nicholas Braun, Mackenzie Davis, and Josh Fadem sold their roles, they were a bit overshadowed by supporting actors Dennis Leary, Patton Oswalt, Keegan-Michael Key, and teeny boppers will pay too much attention to Vanessa Hudgens. The most important element though is the horror, and I was glad to see plenty of that. Pickering throws in loads of gore and I was impressed to see a good amount of practical effects. The CGI scenes, which were used for the aliens, were not bad and I dug the look of the alien transports.
Overall, Freaks of Nature is a fun experience that does well in blending multiple sub-genres. It has the laughs, gore, and good comedic performances to attest for a solid beer-n-wings night flick.