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The Independent Critic

Mark Starratt, Peter Valdron, David Richard, Jennifer Ramos, David Parisian, Kelly McDowell
Kalainithan Kalaichelvan


 "Inland Freaks" Tackles Difficult Subject with Intelligence, Honesty 
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There's no question that the subject matter contained in writer/director Kalainithan Kalaichelvan's latest short film Inland Freaks makes it a unique, perhaps challenging short film unlikely to appeal to mass consumption. The film centers around a group of men who commit themselves to an experimental program that claims to be able to cure them of their forbidden desires. 

If you don't know what those forbidden desires are, then you're probably not paying attention and you're probably not the target audience for this just shy of 11-minute short film. 

Inland Freaks has an appropriately institutional aura about it, an atmospheric grunginess that looks and feels like it'd be right at home in a film like A Clockwork Orange. Kalaichelvan wisely avoids the usual histrionics that we often find in this kind of film, an approach that may prove to be jarring for some as Inland Freaks reminds us that there's more to these men, and in this case it is all men, than simply the fact that they have these "desires" and are, in essence, freaks. 

The film features a top notch ensemble cast, though the two stand-outs are definitely Mark Starratt and Peter Valdron, whose characters get a little bit more in the way of complexity and whose presence here is more vulnerable and, I'd dare say, human. 

There's an overwhelmingly haunting feeling that permeates every moment of Inland Freaks, a sense of mystery and an ambiguity, especially at the ending, that leaves us wondering, as is often the case, what will actually become of these men. 

Inland Freaks has already picked up a couple of fest awards including the November awards for Best Film, Best Screenplay, and 2nd Best of the Fest at the Feel the Reel International Film Festival and the September Award for Best Sound/Music in the Largo Film Awards. Indeed, the music by Kalaisan Kalaichelvan is top notch throughout Inland Freaks and Andrew Lau's lensing is stark, piercing and memorable. 

Inland Freaks is continuing on the indie festival circuit and continues Kalaichelvan's record of creating intense, thought-provoking and memorable films including my introduction to his work, the remarkable Stella Maris. For more information on Inland Freaks, visit the film's official website linked to in the credits. 

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic