review by Bobby Blakey
While it didn’t work as well as I had hoped for me, Happy Death Day and its sequel were definitely fresh takes on an old trope blending comedy with horror. Director Christopher Landon proved to be a fun filmmaker and I was eager to see what he had next. His latest film Freaky blends the body switching idea and once again fuses it with a horror element. The film stars Kathryn Newton, Vince Vaughn, Celeste O’Connor, Misha Osherovich, Uriah Shelton, Alan Ruck, Katie Finneran, and Dana Drori, but does it bring the fun and blood as hoped or was it switch that should have been killed?
Freaky follows seventeen-year-old Millie Kessler who is just trying to survive the bloodthirsty halls of Blissfield High and the cruelty of the popular crowd. But when she becomes the newest target of The Butcher, her town’s infamous serial killer, her senior year becomes the least of her worries. When his mystical ancient dagger causes him and Millie to wake up in each other’s bodies, Millie learns that she has just 24 hours to get her body back before the switch becomes permanent and she’s trapped in the form of a middle-aged maniac forever. The only problem is she now looks like a towering psychopath who’s the target of a city-wide manhunt while The Butcher looks like her and has brought his appetite for carnage to Homecoming.
I thought the premise and the trailer looked great, but I was a bit worried that it was going to be another missed opportunity like Happy Death Day. That film is fun, but lacks the true slasher aspects I had expected, but this time around Landon doesn’t pull no punches. I loved this film in all its gore and laughs it brought to the table. Everyone here is so much fun to watch, but its Vince Vaughn that really steals the show. Vaughn kills it as the psychotic killer with a Jason Voorhees like vibe complete with numerous homages to classic kills and visuals. When he changes places with Newton he gets to embody a whole new aspect a teenage girl and he is clearly all in. Being such a big man in comparison to everyone else he is
interacting adds the comedic side with him playing it up along with the way he runs and plays up the teenage girl persona.
On the flip side Newton does a great job with the killer persona really playing up the dark aspect to perfection. They both are clearly having blast in their respective roles which makes the film work all the better. The supporting cast are all great as well bringing fun and laughs along with the scares. The story plays up the body switching idea that has been done hundreds of times before in a new fun way and adds that new element to its direction. I dug the reasoning about how it happens that actually leaves it open to do more films should they want to in new inventive ways.
For those wondering about the slasher side it is all in. Right out of the gate it brings the blood and keeps it flowing off and on throughout. To my surprise they really played up the slasher genre perfectly while blending the comedy and heart to it all making this one my new favorites.