As film fans, there’s always a handful of films that we allow to pass us by. This usually isn’t at all indicative of their quality – sometimes, like with Freaky, we’re just a little Late To The Party.
From the director of Happy Death Day comes Freaky, a comedy slasher with a body swap premise. Surprised to find those words in the same sentence? Yeah, we are too, but here we are.
Due to being released mid-pandemic in October of 2020, Freaky flew under the radar. Even with comedy superstar Vince Vaughn in a leading role opposite Kathryn Newton, the film passed almost immediately into relatively obscurity. However, it’s far better than its mostly-forgotten reptuation suggests.
It follows high school senior Millie as she contends with bullies and her mother’s increasingly problematic alcoholism in the wake of her father’s death. Oh, and she’s targeted by an escaped serial killer. Thankfully, she has her two best friends to stand by her even when the killer stabs her with a magic dagger, causing the two to swap bodies. Ergo, Vince Vaughn spends most of the film playing a teenage girl, and Kathryn Newton spends the film playing a violent psychopath.
Freaky Takes Two Old Ideas And Makes Them Feel New Again
Much like Happy Death Day, Freaky takes a well-used movie staple (here it’s body swapping instead of a time loop) and turns it into a horror movie. It’s a formula that seems to work well for director Christopher Landon, because Freaky is fun on pretty much every level. In terms of plot, it’s pretty standard body swap stuff – the two parties have to recreate the earlier stabbing in order to switch back. However, the slasher element adds a fun twist to proceedings.
The kills are pretty brutal, but they’re still not too heavy. There’s a well-cultivated air of comedy that runs through even the film’s darker moments, thanks in part to Vaughn’s uncanny ability to recreate the mannerisms of an adolescent girl. Newton also taps into a dark and decidedly creepy part of herself to play the killer, making the pair a magnetic leading duo.
In all honesty, Freaky hardly reinvents the wheel. What it does is takes two existing wheels and rolls with them, creating a fun and enjoyable experience that deftly blends horror and comedy. It’s also good to see Vaughn channelling his inner Norman Bates again (albeit only in a handful of scenes).
Summary: Freaky isn’t a great horror movie, nor is it a laugh-out-loud comedy. However, it dips its blood-soaked toes into each genre, offering up laughs and brutal murders in equal measure.
Highlight: Vince Vaughn sharing a kiss with a teenage boy is truly something to behold, and makes for one of the most bizarrely comedic (and sweet) moments in the film.