It’s not often you’ll read a synopsis like “Vince Vaughan plays a serial killer who switches bodies with a high school girl after being stabbed with a magical blade.”
“Freaky” already had my attention and perhaps surprisingly, it managed to keep it for the duration of the film. “Freaky” is yet another Jason Blum (Blumhouse Productions) endorsed horror, his name has been attached to an incomprehensible volume of content over the last few years, maintaining his momentum as one of our generation’s most active contributors. The film is directed by Christopher Landon, his catalogue includes Happy Death Day (and 2u) and Disturbia, two recent, notable efforts.
What we get here is essentially Friday the 13th meets Freaky Friday. It’s not entirely original but it is wholly entertaining. The writers and director clearly have a passion for the genre and with “Freaky,” fans are served a platter of Easter Eggs as they pay homage to a dormant style.
Let’s just get this out the way; Vince Vaughan is absolutely ace as the Blissfield Butcher, his imposing stature mimicking a Michael Myers silhouette effectively, his slow but relentless pace and power, invoke a real terror. We rarely get to see comedic actors like Vaughan shine in ‘darker’ roles, and although he’s not fully utilised in Freaky, there’s enough for him to play around with. The real delight comes after the switch is made between he and Millie Kessler (Kathryn Newton), this is Vaughan’s comfort zone through and through, the body swap makes for ample gender inverted gags and hilarious miscommunications. The way Vaughan imitates a girlish run, is truly magnificent.
Millie Kessler on the other hand, is an unpopular high school student navigating a rocky home life while doting over her crush. Millie’s supportive besties Josh (Misha Osherovich), and Nyla (Celeste O’Connor) round out the trio of high school underlings. Each actor thrives in their respective roles and because of this, Freaky moves along at a brisk pace while being a genuinely funny and entertaining romp. The way in which Millie incorporates the Blissfield Butcher’s sociopathic tendencies and devilish expressions is frightfully convincing. Although a little disturbing, I couldn’t help but rally behind when she redefines her persona and enters into full badass mode.
It’s not all fun and games though. Freaky does contain some truly gruesome deaths. Because of the film’s tone, they never affected me in the same way as an all out horror like Evil Dead, or Saw, but that’s not what the filmmakers are going for here and so it doesn’t really matter. The shock remains and the sense of danger stays throughout.
Freaky is deserving of praise for both it’s ability to seamlessly and confidently blend the horror/ comedy genre. The cast deliver commendable performances across the board making for a breezy and entertaining ride. Freaky will have you laughing, gasping, and thinking twice about how you run.