Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Ending Of Freaks Explained

The 2018 science-fiction thriller "Freaks" explores a world in which a percentage of the population has manifested supernatural abilities that cause them to be feared, ostracized, and hunted by the rest of society. The movie follows a father, Henry (Emile Hirsch), who uses his powers to hide his daughter Chloe (Lexy Kolker) from the world and train her to act as normal as possible. He is in a state of constant anxiety and paranoia and vigilantly watches to see if Chloe's eyes begin to bleed – a tell-tale sign of her powers manifesting. The father and daughter live a reclusive life in a boarded-up house, sustaining themselves on a diet of canned goods. Seven-year-old Chloe has never ventured past their front door, and obeys her father's commands not to do so, in fear of the bad people outside trying to kill them.  

Eventually, her desperation for a maternal figure, as well as her burgeoning curiosity about the outside world, drives her to journey beyond the house. Once in the real world, she learns the truth about her abilities from an ice-cream vendor (Bruce Dern) who is revealed to be Chloe's estranged maternal grandfather. As the movie progresses, the trio put their differences aside to mount an escape to liberate Henry's wife, Chloe's mother Mary (Amanda Crew), who's presumed dead but actually imprisoned in an underground facility.

Henry stops time to protect his daughter from the outside wold

Henry's power is being able to create a temporal bubble and literally stop time — for the entire planet. From the outside perspective time inside his enclosure is moving extremely fast while the perspective from inside is that the outside world is at a standstill. Although only a few months have passed for the rest of us, Henry has been in hiding with his daughter for the past seven years. Parents often reminisce about how quickly their kids are going up and how they wish they could freeze a moment in time in order to protect their children and shield them from the dangers of the world — this is basically what Henry is doing. He is literally stopping time in order to hold on to and protect the childhood of his daughter. Unfortunately, his efforts only accelerate her growth for the outside world and, as they tend to do, children grow up anyway. 

Chloe's maturation and eventual ocular bleeding are not only a sign of her powers emerging, but also reminiscent of another biological process young girls experience, signaling her progression into maturity. Despite her father's efforts to keep her his little girl forever, Chloe grows up to the point where he can't control her anymore, especially since she exhibits intense telepathic capabilities.     

Agent Ray hunts down members of the supernatural community

The story also touches on social issues. As described by a news anchor on television, "By definition, any freaks who are running loose are illegal." This is a clear parallel to hot-button issues in the United States, immigration and minorities. However as Cecilia Ray (Grace Park), a government agent tasked with finding any abnormal subjects points out, "Declaring a group of people illegal doesn't make them go away, it makes them go underground. They're forced to defend themselves and survive." 

Ironically, the government is contributing to the instability by alienating the super-powered people. Much like in the real world, the labels put on a group of people shape how society feels about them as a whole. Referring to powered people as "freaks" allows citizens to de-humanize them and suspend empathy for their struggles. It's a fitting allegory for marginalized segments of society. Even the government's efforts to round up all those with supernatural abilities for relocation to Modac Mountain is reminiscent of how the American government has treated certain peoples in history.

Freaks, or peaceful members of the 'Abnormal Community'?

Throughout "Freaks," we also see just how frightening these so-called freak powers actually are. Chloe seems to have the ability to astral project into the psyche of others and telepathically force them to do her bidding. We are also told that every new generation of abnormals holds a greater power than the last, with the children being deemed "living weapons of mass destruction," according to a television news report. Chloe's mother was also apparently responsible for the destruction of the entire city of Dallas, Texas. Chloe herself shows the brutal potential of her abilities by almost making her father drill a hole into his face and controlling the actions and minds of those hundred of miles away. Freaks and non-freaks alike are unable to resist her mind control and she could easily be considered a dangerous, unpredictable liability. Chloe is the epitome of what the government has been fearing, and a large part of her conception and identity is due to the vilification and condemnation of her kind. 

Declaring at the end of the movie that she is no longer going to hide, Chloe makes it clear that she intends to live with her newly freed mother as she pleases, defiantly saying "If anyone bothers us, I know how to make them stop" — a chilling statement given the extent of her powers. This leaves us to wonder whether the destructive nature of these beings is truly an inherent threat to the planet or whether their future is a product of the trauma and circumstances through which they have been forced to live.