Farley Wilder is the local peeping tom in a small New Hampshire town, where his reputation has earned him the interest of a writer, Scarlett, and together the two begin to stalk around town checking out the local inhabitants and making notes. However, there is one area of the city that is off limits, one where murderers are said to dwell, and the ‘bearded hobo’ warns of creatures called ‘trogs’ hiding in the woods. In order to confront the past and the loss of his mother, Farley decides to head into the woods and the family cabin to figure out what really happened. A 2k restoration of Freaky Farley was included as part of the 2022 Fantastic Fest lineup.

Freaky Farley is one of several films showcased this year at Fantastic Fest by duo Matt Farley & Charles Roxburgh. Together, the two have carved out an unique style of comedy, micro-budget productions with subtle humor, and a charismatic cast with a distinguishable style and undeniable charm. This makes Freaky Farley and its throwback to low-budget horror films of the ’70s and 80’s more of a starting point for discussing the film, than a way to encapsulate it entirely. Certainly, fans of low-budget eclecticism will vibe with what Freaky Farley is doing, but a deeper appreciation for the film lies in the distinct humor of its creators.

Performance-wise, Matt Farley has impeccable comedic timing that will leave the audience hanging on every word. This is largely due to his peculiar way of speaking and quasi-uncanny dialogue. Freaky Farley is an adult who never grew up, a sexual miscreant who probably does not realize he is a sexual miscreant. There is a certain innocence to everything he does, and all his interactions have a childlike curiosity, despite living on the fringes of his small town as an unemployable adult and local pervert. The fact that the town has granted him a degree of infamy taps into a John Watersesque absurdness in accepting deviants as a part of small-town communities—a sentiment that also extends to the accepted ‘town witch’ and ‘ninja’ who are accepted residents in all their eccentricities. 

Sharon Scalzo as Scarlett in Freaky Farley

As Farley’s story unravels, an odd assortment of characters are drawn to his antics in a perfect slice of absurdist humor with a wholesome edge. The story goes to fantastical and bizarre places, yet is consistently charming and grounded by the performances from Matt Farley and crew. It is also a highly quotable film, given both the stilted delivery of the purposely awkward dialogue.

As you can see from the trailer below, the visuals in the film are rather simplistic. Whether it be purposefully or as a result of budgetary restrictions, it fits the aesthetic of the films it pays homage to. Furthermore, the score is a repetitive mess of synths that will tickle the nostalgia of fans of micro-budget campiness. The production may not look polished, but it captures that home-movie turned horror feature aesthetic perfectly.

Comedy is subjective, and the more the genre distinguishes itself with a unique style the more divisive the fanbase will get. That said, Freaky Farley is an utter comedic gem for those in love with campy horror films of the 70s and 80s, and even the SOV and zed-grade silliness that extended past those eras. Don’t miss a chance to check this one out—Farley and Roxburgh may just become your next cinematic obsession.

We Watched Freaky Farley as Part of the 2022 Fantastic Fest Line-Up



Past Festival Coverage