Movie Review: ‘Freaky’

Director: Christopher Landon

Cast: Vince Vaughn, Kathryn Newton, Katie Finneran, Dana Drori, Celeste O’Connor, Misha Osherovich, Uriah Shelton

Plot: A masked serial killer attacks a high school girl with an antique dagger, causing them to swap bodies.

Review: It’s been about five minutes, so it’s time for a Blumhouse horror film! This studio has become a genre unto itself, and we enjoy their shlocky nature, especially Happy Death Day. As something of a follow-up, we have a slasher version of the classic body-swap comedy.

Freaky comes in hot, as the Blissfield Butcher (Vaughn) performs his annual ritual of killing the local teen population. It’s violently bloody, over-the-top and pays tribute to many a classic horror movie. After this full-speed intro, things slow down drastically as we set up the main cast. One of the strengths of Happy Death Day was the likeable leads, and there’s a fair attempt to replicate this aspect of the film in Freaky, but it’s watered down at best. Ultimately it means we’re spending an extended amount of time with mostly unlikeable people waiting for the story to start.

When it does start the movie becomes a mostly one-note joke about Vince Vaughn being a girly girl. We’d established Millie (Newton) as a stoic, introverted girl but when she swaps bodies with a slasher killer she suddenly minces about and fusses like a crude stereotype. Scenes focusing on Vaughn become cringe-inducing, especially a romantic scene with the 50 year old actor getting cuddly with the dreamboat crush played by a 23 year old.

More fun is Kathryn Newton playing the murderer trapped in a teen girls body, especially in the earlier parts of the movie. When the Blissfield Butcher is a Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers type, a mindless killer unable to respond in any human way to the people around them, it’s a fun reversal of the genre tropes. Later in the film he gets more talkative and human and winds up being a generic snarling villain.

If you’re just in this for the gruesome deaths – and they are gruesome – the long stretches of whacky comedy and awkward character development will make it feel like a slog. It tries to label itself as meta, but is as cliche as they come. The forced teen dialogue doesn’t help, and neither does moments of pointless irony, like the teen girl who gets frozen while holding a phone.

For fans of shlock only. They didn’t feel like they had a plan beyond the basic concept. The weird moment of the female character talking about how embodied she is having Vaughn’s puffy body is just weird, but what else can you expect from a 45 year old man teaching us about female empowerment?

Rating: THREE out of TEN