Unfortunately, Freaks: You’re One of Us becomes a victim to a stronger first half.
This review of Netflix film Freaks: You’re One of Us contains no spoilers. The superhero film was released on the platform on September 2, 2020.
Wendy, the lead character, starts Freaks: You’re One of Us as this tepid, uninspiring person that is easily bowled over and defined by her unwillingness for confrontation. It’s her tepidness and unearthed kindness that opens space for the audience to feel sympathy. Wendy is polite while slyly hiding her smile and feeling the pressure of trying to get a promotion at work so her small unit of a family is not removed from their home — bills are a sore point.
And it becomes apparent very early on in the Netflix film that Wendy has superpowers that are being suppressed by regular medication. Netflix’s Freaks: You’re One of Us gives a slight nibble at The Unbreakable Trilogy, landing a film where those considered different must be stowed away and kept from society. The people in this world have to severely suspend their belief to understand the events that unfold in front of them. It realistically links superhero powers to heightened fear.
This sense of family and community shines through in Freaks: You’re One of Us. From the armchair, audiences will root for Wendy to fix her immediate shortcomings — it builds a character that moves from “hill to mountain” — a concept the film attempts to uphold. At first, when Wendy realizes that she wants her powers, there’s a feeling of slight elation — the weak is no longer bullied by life anymore. Underdog stories always work and Cornelia Gröschel understands transformation.
Unfortunately, Freaks: You’re One of Us becomes a victim to a stronger first half. By removing the shackles and vulnerability, you merely have a promising alternative superhero movie that does not sustain momentum. Wendy benefitted from the emotional suppression — once that is gone, and it becomes a story of pure confidence and audacity of taking on the world, the Netflix film loses its shines. It becomes less about the performances and more about events unfolding right before the character’s eyes. There are certain elements later in the story that question the principality of honing powers and what it means to the outer world.
But make no mistake, Freaks: You’re One of Us does well to adhere to genuinely good performances. It doesn’t lag either. The Netflix film merely suffers from a lack of originality. Although having a fresh story is not a requirement, there’s nothing in the rehashed story that stands out as different from all the other alternative superhero films. And also, one the same week The Boys season 2 is released, it may have benefitted from choosing a more timely schedule.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.