Freaks – You’re One of Us lays the groundwork for a potential superhero franchise, just on a smaller scale than what we often see.
|Screenplay By||Marc O. Seng|
|Date Released (Netflix)||9/2/2020|
|Genre(s)||Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Non-English|
|Duration||1 Hour, 32 Minutes|
|Dr. Stern||Nina Kunzendorf|
|Marek||Wotan Wilke Mohring|
|Elmar||Tim Oliver Schultz|
This content contains pertinent spoilers.
Essentially, Freaks – You’re One of Us is an origin story focused on a woman named Wendy. She, after an incident when she was a child, has been under the care of a woman named Dr. Stern for more than a decade to help her control her anger, amongst other things. However, when a man, Marek, approaches her and hints there is more to her, and Dr. Stern, than meets the eye, so begins a journey of self-discovery. One that threatens Wendy’s husband, Lars, and her son Karl.
Wendy (Cornelia Groschel)
After an incident as a child, Wendy has been under the care of Dr. Stern to control her destructive temper and, thanks to Dr. Stern, she has lived a normal life. In fact, she has a partner and son to prove it. However, as money woes come into her life, alongside Marek hinting she is special, this uproots a lot of the work Dr. Stern has done and pushes Wendy to new, potentially destructive, heights.
Dr. Stern (Nina Kunzendorf)
An employee of Atlas, a mysterious corporation that tracks notable individuals, it isn’t clear how high or low Dr. Stern’s rank is, but that she is a familiar name to many who aren’t like the rest of us.
Marek (Wotan Wilke Mohring)
At one time, Marek had a family and all the potential in the world. However, a series of unfortunate events has left him a squatter who squanders for food and hopes for the kindness of others. All while seeking people who had the potential he once had, which is no longer safe to exhibit.
Elmar (Tim Oliver Schultz)
Born to a rich family (in 1998), but never taking advantage of the opportunities given, Elmar works with Wendy at the fast-food restaurant she is in and has a growing obsession with her. Partly due to her looking like a woman from a comic book he likes, but also since she is one of the few women he interacts with. This leads to him becoming envious of Lars to the point of going beyond wanting Wendy and wanting to take her from him.
Lars (Frederic Linkemann)
Wendy’s partner and father to their son Karl, who works security.
Karl (Finnlay Berger)
Wendy’s only child who is bullied but still is generally a sweet kid.
You’ll Grow Attached To Wendy & Her Family
While I wouldn’t say you’ll think much of Lars, since we don’t get to know anything beyond him being a security guard, and he got Wendy pregnant years ago, as for Karl and Wendy? Oh, you’ll fall for them. When it comes to Karl, he is this adorable kid who is getting bullied, but loves his parents and is in awe of his mother.
Then, with Wendy, with her working as a waitress, just trying to make ends meet, and you hearing her story of being cast aside repeatedly in life, it makes you feel for her. In fact, it makes you want to see her empowered beyond having superpowers. For there is an emotional connection that makes you want the best for her, even as it is clear that her journey to becoming all she can may require sacrifice.
The Sequel Potential
Thanks to Elmar, you may wish this was a mini-series rather than, currently, a stand-alone movie. The reason being, Elmar, unlike the rest, wants more than a normal life. He wants that sense of superiority and to live out his comic book dreams. Thus leading to him making drastic and destructive decisions that could potentially out his people and ruin what little safety other people with powers have.
That makes it so, especially as you realize Wendy can’t maintain an influence over him, you want to see more, for surely Elmar isn’t the only one like this. After all, we see at least a dozen faces and are clued into an organization which tracks people with powers, and learn about a facility they have. Making it so Wendy, Elmar, and Merek are just the tip of the iceberg.
On The Fence
Who or What Is Atlas?
While we know Dr. Stern is part of an organization named Atlas, which has a huge facility that includes armed men, a dozen of people with powers, and the ability to produce medication to suppress these powers, nothing is explained. All you learn is from seeing the occasional folder and maybe the first one or two pages within a file. Leaving you largely unaware of what’s going on and why.
Now, is this a huge issue? No. After all, you can easily get so wrapped up in Wendy and Elmar’s story that there being someone monitoring them and repressing them can feel secondary. However, once the movie ends, and you start questioning things, Atlas becomes both a potential focus for a sequel as well as an organization you might feel should have been more than Dr. Stern, a random building, a handful of papers, and unnamed guards.
Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)
Like so many origin stories, Freaks – You’re One of Us gives you someone charming to attach to, a good enough villain to hate, and lays down the building blocks for you to clamor for more. And considering the film doesn’t address Atlas, or how anyone even got powers, there is room to explore and grow. Leading to why this is labeled worth seeing: Potential.
Yes, saying something has potential after an hour and a half is strange, but like any film that sets a foundation for more, you are left feeling like things have just begun. Heck, as noted, there are multiple stories, just in this film, that makes you feel like this could have been a mini-series, and, to be perfectly honest, we thought this was a series when we put it on our calendar. This may factor into why we want more since we were originally prepped to watch this for a couple of days.
That aside, Freaks – You’re One of Us can be the methadone for your superpower fix, especially if Project Power wasn’t enough to hold you over until we can go back to theaters and see new MCU or DC films come out.
Where To Watch
Ending Explained (Spoilers)
All Marek wanted was to provide Wendy a means to be herself and know that Dr. Stern was suppressing who she truly was. However, then Wendy starting showing off, digging into Dr. Stern’s files, and with learning Elmar also had powers, she woke up a monster. One that had a terrible relationship with his father, and his girlfriend, and that made him want to be the heroes he read about in comic books. After all, is his story not similar to theirs? Being unloved, unsupported, yet brimming with potential?
Heck, add in his crush on Wendy, and he thought they were destined to be, and developed a superiority complex. One that he tried to keep from becoming overbearing by making it seem, during an attempted breakout, he cared about other people with superpowers. However, with revealing to Dr. Stern who Marek is and then getting Wendy committed, it becomes clear the boy is selfish. Add in nearly killing his dad and scaring off his dad’s girlfriend, and you slowly see a potential supervillain begin their story.
However, in hopes that Wendy’s time in isolation would help her realize he is the one, Elmar eventually cuts the power to the city, including the cells Atlas has, and rather than decide to be with Elmar, she chooses her family. One Dr. Stern has taken an increased interest in since Karl has the potential to have powers, and that is both intriguing and worrisome.
Alas, whether he does or not, is left to potential sequels, and after stopping Elmar, who is taken by Atlas, Wendy is forced to leave her family for their protection. But she isn’t alone. Yes, Marek dies during the escape, protecting Wendy, but others made it out, and three join Wendy and surely will help the others who made it out and make another round to save those recaptured.
From Wendy trying to save more people, someone taking Elmar’s place as a villain, if not Atlas assuming the role you expect them to, there is a lot that can be done with a sequel.