Freaks of Nature
The town of Dillford is quite the diverse town. It has a population made up of humans, zombies, and vampires. But they all live in peace and go about their daily lives without problems. The peace is disrupted however when an alien invasion throws the balance out of whack and it is left to 3 teens, (a human, a zombie, and a vampire), to team up and try to restore the order of the town!
I'll start by saying this about 2015: it really was a great year for horror-comedies. This is what made a lot of horror in the '80s so memorable, it infused humor into the formula and the laughter served as a release from the horror. Maybe it's a backlash to the rise of “torture porn” in the 2000's? Who knows. Anyway, movies like House, Ghostbusters, and Gremlins were just so damn fun and had just enough of a horror element to appease all the horror fans amongst all the comedy. It's a winning combination and it's nice to see that it's found it's footing again, especially on the VOD platform with such films as Cooties, The Final Girls, and now Freaks of Nature.
Freaks of Nature is a lot of fun, plain and simple. It has a great plot that let's us see humans, zombies, and vampires all walking around living amongst each other so right away I was interested and wanted to see this. Luckily it doesn't just rely on this gimmick and actually gives us a movie that is bright, loaded with eccentric characters, and is pretty damn funny! Amidst all this we get zombies eating flesh, vampires attacking people, and people killing both as well. I totally dug the way the vampires die in this!
The comedy is more of the perfectly delivered line or funny quip or deadpan absurdity variety but the actors all do such wonderful jobs at this that I was laughing a lot throughout the film! There are some characters who stand out in their performances and they are Dennis Leary who is his usual fast talking, slightly crazed, insult throwing self and Keegan Michael-Key who plays a short tempered vampire teacher and that guy had me seriously cracking up, he his hilarious!
The look of the zombies and vampires were also very compelling in Freaks of Nature as they recalled the look of some classic 1980's films. The zombies reminded me of Return of the Living Dead and one vampire in particular had a Lost Boys look. Even the tentacled aliens with bright green blood from a ship surrounded by fog with neon spinning lights had '80's written all over it. Pretty unique alien design, too.
Freaks of Nature seems to thrive on nostalgia, as these types of films often to do. I personally don't have a problem with that because the comedy elements seem to be updated to fit the modern era. There's no corny sight gags or on-the-nose puns here, it's modern humor fused with the big feeling of the films of the 1980's and it works great. There's an inspired zombie sub-title scene, by the way, that is truly original!
Freaks of Nature isn't without it's faults, however. The later half of the second act seems to slow down and drag just a bit and the film seems to meander to get to where it needs to be to start the final act. The good news is the final scene is layered with wrap ups and twists and I wasn't sure exactly how this movie was going to wrap up, and I was pleased the way it did.
This is essentially the zombies/vampires John Hughes film that never was. It has classic teen comedy written all over it. Except with aliens, zombies, and vampires and blood and death and Vanessa Hudgens. And that sounds like a party.