Freakish: Brought to You by Vine and YouTube (Review)

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Two time Oscar winner Emma Thompson will not like this one. Starring a number of Vine and YouTube “stars” Freakish has too many things wrong to make it right.  The premise is good; a Planet Terror sort of scenario where chemicals turn good kids bad, as in zombie bad. (On second thought that sounds more like a “Just Say No” campaign. Considering the show’s stars that may be more accurate as well.)

Freakish has a number of real actors in the cast. One of these was eaten by zombie teenagers in the first episode; the excellent  Chad L. Coleman.  This leaves a number of teen celebs who were cast because of Vine and YouTube followers.

To be fair, however, there are a quite a lot of younger actors in the cast. Leo Howard, Tyler Chase and Mary Mouser, for example, have an impressive number of credits under their belts.

Others, like Meghan Reinks were cast because of the amount of subscribers on their YouTube channel or Vine followers.  (Check out Meghan’s bio on IMDb, it states that she was “classically trained to be an actor.” Her performance is not that bad but it is not “classical.”)

The local chemical plant blows up and spreads zombie creating gas, helpfully colored brown so the kids can see it coming, traps a number of students in their high school.  A number of them chose to ignore the coach and leave the relative safety of the school after the plant explodes.

Ones that return have been infected by the gas and turn into zombies. The “smarter” students who opted to stay out of the gas worry about this development. The coach separates the sick kids from the rest of the group and becomes a midnight snack for his effort.

Initially this felt like it was going to be an annoying pale imitation of the superb 2009 Brit dramedy Misfits.  A small group of teens are in detention when the chemical plant blows. (In reality this felt more like The Breakfast Club on a meets any Roger Corman film.)

After a few moments into Freakish it was obvious that a pale ripoff of Misfits would be been better than this offering. It is not that the new Hulu series is bad, it is just not that good.

Part of the problem with Freakish, apart from its using non-actors to make up the cast, is the writing.  The “dead mom” gag at the beginning of the first episode is a good example. Meant to be funny, it is instead trite and unbelievable.

The kid with the knife, who is obviously a lad who could care less about another boy’s mother being dead, backs right off when Grover states his mom is deceased.  The gag is then repeated, this time from the girl that Grover is pursuing.


This could develop into something entertaining. Two episodes into the new series has not shown too much promise though. Not wanting to sit through all 10 episodes, means having to go back and see where all this ends up.

We will return, but not quickly and with little enthusiasm.  It is doubtful that the survivors get out of the building, although there is an episode titled “Saved” so who knows.

After watching two episodes of Freakish it feels like an American version of the Canadian teen thriller “Between” without Jennette McCurdy and with zombies instead of a  killer virus. (The set is considerably smaller as well, at least in Between they had an entire town to survive in.)

Hulu have a good track record thus far, Freakish may yet turn out to be something special despite the gimmicky Vine and YouTube cast members.

The series is streaming right now on Hulu in its entirety, in other words, all 10 episodes are up and running. Stop by and see what you think.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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