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Freaky Farley
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by Charles Tatum

"Freak of the Weak"
2 stars

Charles Roxburgh and Matt Farley give us this, an homage to all those cheap and cheesy '70's and '80's horror movies many of us grew up on. Unfortunately, their effort isn't much better than many of those things.

The film is book ended by a visit to an insane asylum by Dr. Timson (Ruth Tyler). She is there to interview Farley (Matt Farley), who is locked up for some crimes that he begins to tell her (and us) about in flashback. It seems Farley is the local weirdo...or at least one of a few (we also have a town witch and a town ninja). He constantly wears a black and white striped shirt and peeks in young women's windows, when he isn't being punished by his father (a pretty good Kevin McGee) who forces him to dig holes in the backyard, and then fill them in. Farley lost his mother when he was younger, and his father refuses to talk about what happened. All Farley knows is that something other than a car accident happened in the woods at the family cabin. Farley hangs around in the woods, listening to his father's radio call-in show and being tested on it. He tries to flub a job interview, but even fails at that, as the woman doing the hiring shows some interest in him.

Farley meets Scarlett (the cute Sharon Scalzo), who is writing a novel about small town weirdos, and finds a good subject in Farley. The two are inseparable, and Scarlett gets Farley to begin to assert himself. Farley's fragile mental state is ruptured by some horrific events, and his hometown finds itself with a killing spree on its hands, and I haven't even mentioned what is really lurking in the woods.

Just as with the film after this, "Monsters, Marriage, and Murder in Manchvegas," Roxburgh and Farley present the viewer with their own skewed world, which I once again could not find myself wanting to be a part of. Do not be misled by the film makers' inspirations on the DVD cover, the film's gore consists of what looks like hamburger meat and ketchup. Until the world's most mild killing spree, the film does drag. Farley (the actor) has a strangely compelling camera presence, and curiosity kept me from kicking this out of the DVD player.

As in "Monsters...," Scalzo has another almost-nude scene, the film could pass for PG13, and I ended the experience wondering if Roxburgh and Farley were holding back due to budgetary concerns, or because they think their satiric touches are more interesting than the horror elements. The two do review horror films themselves (visit their website www.shockmarathons.com), and do these ultra-budget films with friends and families, but I wish they would really let loose with something besides these terminal cases of the quirks and the cutes. One plus here is that the story is shot on actual film, which is not cheap, and gives us a very professional look. Roxburgh can set up a shot, and the editing is crisp.

I am sure this is the jaded film critic bitching again, but when you watch as many movies as I do, low-budget or not, you crave something different. These guys are on the verge of giving me just that...and I can be very patient.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=19548&reviewer=325
originally posted: 08/11/09 06:44:37
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USA
  08-Oct-2007 (NR)
  DVD: 08-Sep-2009

UK
  N/A

Australia
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