A little while ago, I reviewed a low-budget filmed called Monsters, Marriage and Murder in Manchvegas. I didn’t care for it too much, but what did I expect, with a title like that? The makers of that gem offered, somewhat illogically, to send me a copy of their earlier work, Freaky Farley, a movie about a creepy Peeping Tom who gets mixed up with a spirited lass while chafing under the control of his domineering dad.
You don’t see many movies in which a Peeping Tom is sort of the good guy. Farley Wilder (writer-producer Matt Farley) is the weird guy in your neighborhood who spends his time walking in the woods or hiding in the bushes. Farley is sort of a poster child for arrested development, whereas his dad (Kevin McGee) is a bit of a hardass, and has been since his wife died. Farley’s dad is always getting on his case, as fathers are wont to do, but the elder Wilder essentially verbally and pyschologically abuses his kid for years and years, pushing Farley closer and closer to the brink of madness.
Meanwhile, the young man is beset by two different young women: Katy, a younger girl next door (literally) who’s more annoying than interesting to Farley, and Scarlett (Sharon Scalzo), an independent muse who’s working on a book. No longer a complete loner, Farley begins keeping company with Scarlett, much to the chagrin of his father.
As with Monsters, Marriage and Murder in Manchvegas, the acting, script, direction, and photography are all pretty mediocre, but there are some bright spots. Okay, not many, but overall the acting was definitely better. In fact, leading man Farley is better here than in the later film, perhaps because he’s playing a psychotic Peeping Tom. But even better is Scalzo as the trippy Scarlett; unlike most others in the cast, she seems to believe in the silly dialog she’s given to speak. (Hey, selling the script is half of what acting is all about.) The thing is, it feels like there’s much more effort made here than in the more-recent film. After all, even if you’re given crap to work with, you can put a happy face on it and do your best. Sometimes a bounty of enthusiasm can make up for certain, shall we say, deficiencies.
You got to give props to a movie in which a character says something like “We’re sending him along to keep an eye on you” while pointing to his own eye. That, my friends, is serious thespianism right there.
You also have to love a movie that lifts sound effects from the computer game Doom. At least it sounds a heck of a lot like it, and I’ve played a lot, lot, lot, lot of Doom in my time. (No more. Cold turkey. On the wagon now.)
Still and all, considering the low, low budget and inexperienced cast and crew, this isn’t nearly as horrible as it could have been. It helps a bit if you watch it ironically, as if the goings-on were a big joke to which only you were privy.
Freaky Farley: **