* * * B
Freaks is the movie that Dark Phoenix should have been. It’s hard to say much more about the film without spoiling it further than the trailer already does. Though made on a fairly low budget (I haven’t found an estimate for it, but it’s clear it was a small fraction of a block buster), the film makes up for it with complex characters and an original plot.
The X-Men property I’d most closely compare Freaks to is The Gifted. It has the same oppression of mutants, and an even darker tone. But where, after watching the first few episodes of The Gifted, I found it dull, Freaks is disturbing and surprising. Bruce Dern, whom I first saw in Silent Running back in 1972, gives a standout performance, though the entire cast is solid.
The X-Men’s themes of xenophobia and discrimination are better captured by this film than anything recently produced by the X-Men franchise. All in all, a solid science fiction film.