director: Christopher Landon (scouts guide to the zombie apocalypse, happy death day)
starring: kathyrn newton, vince vaughn, urian shelton and misha osherovich
REVIEWER: purdie picot
A mystical, ancient dagger causes a notorious serial killer to magically switch bodies with a 17-year-old girl.
Freaky takes its inspiration from the classic Freaky Friday tale, with a twist. A teenage girl and a brutal serial killer swap bodies thanks to a cursed knife. With just a day to stop the change from being permanent, Millie, now in the body of a wanted criminal, must find a way to get back to her body, and stop the Blissfield Butcher from using it for murder. Mille has to prove herself to her friends that it really is her inside of that body. While the Butcher proves that this once shy girl can be an absolute babe.
A classic trope of a body-swap story, something that we are familiar with, knowing that it typically takes two talented actors to pull off a believable swap. Ho-boy, is it ever a delight to watch Vince Vaughn in all his 50-years of dad-bod glory act as a coy teenage girl. From the dainty run, to the subtle gestures and mannerisms, to every youthful line uttered, it was an absolute joy to watch. And the flip side, Kathryn Newton’s gait as the suddenly confident killer and dead eyes towards her teenage peers - for some reason their priorities just don’t match up. It’s not easy to play the straight man, and with so little dialogue, Newton really nails the threatening demeanour in the cold-blooded killer, to counterbalance the campy Vaughn as a preppy teenage girl. Both leads completely nail their traditional role and the swap they go through, delight rules the screen to watch the uncanny take place.
Freaky is a slasher, one that is littered with comedy and very tongue-in-cheek moments. It doesn’t take itself seriously whatsoever, with characters breaking that meta barrier in such a way that both filmmakers and audience know what’s happening and are excited to take part in the moment. Some films try to push that self-referential humour too far, and it ends up being overly complex and creating a divide between casual and diehard fans, Freaky does away with that elitism and has a lot of fun. True to it’s slasher nature, and coming from the Blumhouse Productions family, Freaky doesn’t shy away from the gore. It’s not holding back, and while it might sound like a bit of a laugh it does lean back towards the bloodbath of teenage violence as is tradition with slashers.
I’ve become a fan of Blumhouse films, in the past decade they have been bringing a lot of really fantastic horrors to the screens. They also reward the fans with films like Freaky, something that is well made but just a bit more fun, something we are all overdue for this year. I didn’t know that this film would give me so much pure joy but it did, that 100 minutes just giggling over Vince Vaughn’s girlish antics and enjoying some twists on a familiar story in a new genre was very rewarding. Something which will probably go unnoticed, but I really enjoyed was the lighting. It set up for some beautiful Instagram worthy shots while not feeling forced. Key moments with subtle colour filters, or some brilliant backlighting just made the film feel that little bit more polished.
Freaky is a fun, lighthearted slasher comedy which will make you laugh out loud.