A high-school comedy-drama that feels very much in the spirit of the late John Hughes, Freak Show is about a modern teenage boy who wants to run for Homecoming Queen. Full of music, costumes, love, and some family strife, this story and its amazing characters are difficult to not like. This Shout! Factory Blu-ray boasts a great-looking 1080p HD video transfer as well as an amazing DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix. There are no extras here though, which is completely unsatisfying, because there are a bunch of great actors here that would have had a great time with some interviews or on-set footage. Despite the lack of extras, this one comes Recommended!
Freak Show is a modern-day high-school story about a kid who is proud of who he is, even though he is different from everyone else and just wants to fit in and be loved. Billy Bloom loves putting on dresses, makeup, and wigs, and singing. He's been this way all his life and has always bonded with his divorcée mother (Bette Midler). But, when mom decides to leave town, Billy has to stay with his straight-laced father, who does not like Billy's life or personality, and attend a very conservative high school where he is bullied, made fun of, and even sometimes physically hurt, for the simple fact of being a little different. His father doesn't help out either, other than to tell Billy to stop dressing and acting the way he does. Soon, though, Billy Bloom becomes friends with the star football player as well as a gossipy girl who accepts Billy as he is.
Billy wants the world to love him for who he is and decides to run for Homecoming Queen. Much like the films of John Hughes, Freak Show blends comedic segments with serious material. Director Trudie Styler mixes both of these elements quite well in moments like Billy's hilarious class speech followed by moments of bullying and alcoholism.
Freak Show has a great message for all ages and is quite funny, as it weaves in and out through home problems and the maze that is high school. All of the relationships and interactions all seem realistic and endearing, even though there is strife in a few of them. Styler and all of the actors give truly great performances here, which all make Freak Show a sleeper hit.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Freak Show comes with a 50GB Blu-ray Disc of the film. There is not an insert for a digital download code though or a DVD copy of the film. The disc is housed in a hard blue plastic case with a cardboard sleeve.
Freak Show comes with a 1080p HD transfer and is presented in 2.40:1 aspect ratio. This film was shot digitally and has a very colorful and sharp-looking image. Colors are bold and striking in every sense of the meaning. The costumes Billy wears are bright and feature a ton of well defined primary colors. The pinks, purples, green, blues, yellows, and reds all look extremely dynamic and wonderful. Other earthy tones look equally great, such as brown bark on trees and green leaves. When Billy is at his dad's house, the colors are almost completely gone, with a ton of whites and grays, which is a stylistic choice.
The detail is sharp and vivid too that showcases all of the great and detailed stitching in Billy's costumes. Close-ups reveal all of the makeup blemishes and facial features too. Some segments have a fantasy-like look to them with a hazy white glow. This can make the image look a little soft at times, but it's a stylistic choice and not part of the transfer. Black levels are deep and inky for the most part, however, there were some minor elements of crush. Skin tones are natural though. Lastly, there were no major instances with any banding or aliasing, leaving this video presentation with good marks.
This release comes with an excellent lossless DTS-HD 5.1 mix. The ambient noises of being in a crowded high school -- people talking, lockers clanking, and people eating in the cafeteria -- sound exquisite. The dynamics of these scenes with big hallways or classrooms all add the natural reverb and echo that you'd expect. There is also a great sound effect of people using their phones, which you can hear a ton of clicks and beeps in all directions, which is a lot of fun.
Other sound effects are robust and loud as well. The score to the film is lively and always adds to the tone and comedic tone of the film in a great way. Dialogue is clean, clear, and free of any pops, cracks, hiss, and shrills. This is a great audio presentation.
Trailer (HD, 2 Mins.)
Freak Show is a fun movie that evokes the spirit of John Hughes in a modern day setting. It's funny throughout, yet it has some serious moments with good messages about bullying, alcoholism, friendship, and being true to yourself. It's endearing and charming, and has a great cast of characters. The video and audio presentations are both excellent, but there are no bonus features, which is unfortunate. This film comes Recommended, despite the lack of extras.