Freaks ★★

A chintzy yet well-intentioned slab of socially conscious science-fiction, Zach Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein’s “Freaks” is a familiar tale of super-powered outcasts who are forced to hide their gifts from the rest of humanity, but the appeal of this derivative slop is all in the telling. The fun here — and there is some decent fun to be had — has nothing to do with the story, and everything to do with how patiently the filmmakers let us in on its secrets. In other words, “Freaks” is undercooked red meat for “Westworld” superfans, Reddit sleuths, and anyone else who tends to engage with genre entertainment as though it were a puzzle for them to solve.

For others, however, this low-budget “X-Men” clone may feel more like an exasperating 104-minute audition for whatever franchise superhero fare its makers are clearly hoping to be hired for next.

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