Arriving almost eight months after its release in the US, Freaky comes from director Christopher Landon, who also directed the hugely entertaining Happy Death Day movies. It manages to take the tired old body swap genre and add a fresh horror spin, while still keeping things fun.
It’s Wednesday the 11th. Vince Vaughn is the Blissfield butcher, opening the movie with a series of very gruesome kills as he takes out four teens who’ve gathered for a small party at one of their houses. Like all good slasher movies, he’s wearing a creepy mask and his tall imposing build, along with the obviously psychotic personality disorder he displays, makes for a pretty terrifying threat. The owner of the house that’s going to need a serious deep clean after tonight is also a collector of interesting artefacts and the butcher is instantly drawn to a mysterious looking Aztec dagger encased in a glass cabinet. As the parents return home to find carnage and destruction, the cabinet has been broken and the dagger is gone.
The next day (Thursday the 12th!), news of the killings is doing the rounds at Blissfield High, where Millie (Kathryn Newton) and her best friends Nyla (Celeste O’Connor) and Josh (Misha Osherovich) are students. Outside of her small group of friends, Millie is currently the victim of bullying at school and is suffering from a general lack of confidence following the recent death of her father. There are a lot of kids (and even a teacher) who are downright mean to Millie and you just know they’re going to pay for it later when the main plot kicks in!
After a homecoming game that evening, Millie is left waiting alone for her mum to come and collect her, but she is passed out drunk on the couch at home. The butcher appears, brandishing the Aztec dagger, and as he attempts to use it on Millie, the body swap takes place. Just in time for Friday the 13th, what perfect timing!
The key to any great body swap movie is the enjoyment you get from seeing two completely different people stuck in a body and lifestyle that’s completely alien to them. And seeing 6’5” Vince Vaughn act like a teenage girl as he does a cheerleader dance, flirts with Millie’s crush and looks down in awe as he stands to do a wee is just hilarious. Meanwhile, Millie is now a complete bad-ass as she strides confidently through school in a red leather jacket, giving everyone a dirty look and dishing out that just deserved payback that I mentioned earlier. Unfortunately, the reduced height and strength of the butchers new body does work against him at times, but that doesn’t stop him from serving up some more inventively gruesome kills.
Meanwhile, Millie struggles to be seen with her friends or around the school at all now that she matches the photofit of the butcher that’s been posted on the news. The race is on for Millie to locate the dagger and use it on the butcher before midnight (and before the butcher uses his new body to wipe out the entire school) in order to reverse the body swap and avoid being stuck permanently in the wrong bodies.
After her brilliant performance in The Map of Tiny Perfect Things earlier this year, it’s good to see Kathryn Newton back in another great role and her switch from insecure schoolgirl to badass serial killer is as equally convincing as Vince Vaughn’s switch. Vaughn is no stranger to comedy anyway, but it’s great to see him having such a blast with this role too. Overall, it’s not quite as fun as Happy Death Day, but Freaky does still boast a great concept that is wonderfully executed. And hugely enjoyable too.
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Web developer by day, with a movie and TV watchlist that continues to grow as much as my spare time reduces! My favourite movie is Inception and, despite what everyone says, I do not have a man-crush on Tom Cruise.