Often the difference between a film that seems amateur & seems professionally done, even on the cheap, is the quality of the sound.
A film can have flat photography, mediocre acting, & a cliche script, but if the sound mix is primo, it all comes together as an okay film, all other faults passing for intentional.
Freaky Farley (2007) has a terrible sound mix which heightens the amateurishness of the script & underscores the appallingly stinko acting from just about every member of the cast.
The production team has attempted to excuse the awfulness by advertising it as "in the tradition of" cheapo slashers of the 1970s & 1980s. The avowed heroes of the filmmakers include Bill Rebane for crying out loud, in a classic "We can do that!" mode of aspiring to the worst.
Their promotional material begs the pending viewer or critic to please oh god please just stop & think a minute how hard it is "with little or no experience" to make a film with nothing beyond "energy & determination."
One gets the feeling from the promo sheets that no matter how many times these guys were given wedgies by the jocks, they just never stopped believing that if they whinged & pleaded more obsequiously than last time, they might be spared the next wedgie. Instead they just encouraged a round of bitch-slapping.
But you know what? There's something likeable about Freaky Farley, almost as though your precocious baby brother forced you to watch his dumbass home-made movie, & you get all these irrationally tender feelings for the annoying little snotface.
At the insane asylum, Farley (played by the film's producer Matt Farley) tells a psychiatrist of his psycho killer exploits. He's a total weany & tells his story in terms of a whiner & complainer.
We learn that he had a mildly rotten childhood with an enept, stupid dad (Kevin McGee). As a young man he never leaves home, being a worthless sponger, though strangely the script seems really to want to blame dad, as though the script were written by just such a whining complaining weanie still living in his childhood bedroom at thirty.
He's a devoted peeping tom always on the verge of becoming a sexual predator. After almost an hour of what I guess was supposed to be character development, or just padding to reach feature length, Farley kills a bully, his father, a wacky hobo, a hillbilly, just rampaging to get even with everyone who ever annoyed him. You gotta give it credit for not being just another "kill beautiful girls!" fantasy that all too many slasher films turn out to be.
There are no gore FX & some of the killing occurs off-screen, so either nobody knew how to do the FX, or they really hoped there was something else to carry the film to the public.
[SPOILER ALERT!] And then quite suddenly, without preamble, a comedy death scene for Scarlett (Sharon Scalzo), followed immediately by the slaughter of some "trogs" Farley finds in the woods (again, the killings are largely off-screen), & somehow we're in a totally different & rather better film. Still totally amateur, but attention-holding, funny, & more original than anyone could possibly have been expecting given the load or cliches & hogswallow that led up to this moment.
The "trogs" are truly out of left field & make no sense at all, but I loved 'em. The costumes are seemingly made out of sphagnum moss pasted to the actors. Their appearance is sufficiently off the wall to be amusing.
The town mayor is afraid no one will come to the Apple Bobbing Festival if it becomes known the woods are "full of hungry trogs." (Wait! Apple Bobbing Festival? Hahahaha!) The plan is to let the maniac Farley out of the "loony bin" to kill trogs.
With help of a witch & a ninja, Farley goes trog-hunting. The witch is played by Steff Deschenes, but because even the credits are amateurish, neither I nor any other critic I know of could figure out who played the ninja.
The absdurdities heighten & the film is so effing entertaining just on the strength of abject silliness, you just gotta give it more kudos than it seemed likely to deserve for the first forty minutes. It's only too bad none of the action had been worked out on-screen, or it might even have passed for "so bad it's great!" but it falls a little shy of that.
It's not like the filmmakers really hit their stride. Even when the film finally does grab the viewer, the padding begs further forgiveness. We get really long scenes of walking in the woods, stretching & stretching what could be reduced to a twenty-minute featurette & not lose any content. Finally they encounter a sphagnum trog & Farley wrastles with it, mostly just flapping his arms. [END SPOILER ALERT]
So okay, this is coming off as a film made by teenagers at locations down at the end of the street where there are some trees & water run-off. But hey, if I could've done it when I was thirteen, I'd've been such a genius. On it's own level of concentrated cornpone crap, it's good stuff, especially apt to go over big at a "bad film night" party with a bunch of smart-aleck stoners who all want to be Crow T. Robot or Tom Servo.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl