Film Reviews, Short Review

Freaks (1932)


I enjoyed Freaks, though I’m not sure if I really liked it. It is short, at only about 65 minutes long, and comes across as an absolutely brutal, misanthropic, nihilistic film that functions also as a parable of what happens when you push any ignored minority around for long enough. Tod Browning’s support for his cast of disabled folk is palpable, though not without an element of exploitation (then again, all cinema by its very nature is exploitative you could argue), and he tells his story with economy and directness. Ultimately however, the film lacks something in the writing – despite the film’s horror status, the characters never move beyond stock melodrama tropes, and though elements of Freaks remain fresh 80 years since its release, the weak writing holds it back significantly.


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