MOVIE REVIEW: “Freaky” stars Kathryn Newton (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, Pokémon Detective Pikachu), Vince Vaughn (Hacksaw Ridge, The Internship), Celeste O’Connor (Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Selah and the Spades), Misha Osherovich (The Goldfinch, The Girl in the Woods [TV series]), Dana Drori (Straight Up, Taken [TV series]), Katie Finneran (Bloodline [TV series], Brockmire [TV series]), Uriah Shelton (Lifted, The Glades [TV series]), Melissa Collazo (One of Us Is Lying [TV series], Lena and Snowball), and Alan Ruck (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Speed). It is directed by Christopher Landon (Happy Death Day, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones), who also wrote the screenplay with Michael Kennedy (Bordertown [TV series], Time Cut).
After getting stabbed with a cursed knife by a serial killer, Millie (Newton) switches bodies with him, and must find the killer to switch back before it’s too late.
I’ve been craving to see this one since it first released. Why? Because who wouldn’t want to see Vince Vaughn swap bodies with a teenage girl?
We’re well into the first spooky month of the year (January is usually home to many horror features), so I thought it’d be cool to check out a slasher picture. Did I know it’d be a full-blown slasher? No (for those of you who don’t know, I’m not a fan of that genre). But I had fun nonetheless.
“Freaky” follows a high schooler named Millie who suddenly switches bodies with a serial killer known as The Butcher (Vaughn), prompting her to hunt him down to switch back in twenty-four hours time. It’s an inventive take on the body-switch narrative (with a few elements that are quite meta), and makes for an entertaining ride; especially when the filmmakers know exactly the kind of story they are telling. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and clearly has fun in showing scares.
Shouldered by the solid performances of Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton (who is slowly making her mark on this industry), this story finds its footing in the nuances of its genre and the blending in of a common theme. The lesson? Learn to take care of yourself. Simplistic, really, but it at least gives us an anchor. One thing I hate about slasher flicks is how it’s gore-first. Everything else becomes shallow in the process. But with “Freaky,” they at least take the time to develop grounded characters who are all searching for something. Granted, it’s not the most prolific thing, but it keeps it all sane nonetheless.
The movie is quite the hodgepodge of exciting and eye-rolling moments. Whenever they joke on their genre, I’m happy. Whenever they give in, not so much. I didn’t care for the immense gore that took place, but that’s merely a matter of preference. The film is simple in its set-up and execution. We are introduced to an array of characters; whoever treats Millie like trash will get the axe, while whoever is nice to her will be spared. The acting as a whole is fun, but some performances definitely dig into the stereotypical. Dialogue can have its misses (and boy can I not stand excess f-bombs), but I will say that the filmmakers managed to portray public high schoolers well. I liked the dynamic of the main three characters, and seeing them on this journey was for the most part a treat.
From start to finish, “Freaky” is a fun experiment, riddled with enough tropes to keep the slasher fans happy and some inventiveness to pull in the regular popcorn-goers. There were a few moments in particular I really enjoyed (the best shot being when the Butcher-possessed Millie struts to school in slow motion), and overall it is a solid feature. Though it didn’t quite match my expectations, it still proved to be a good modern horror, which is difficult to find these days (or so I’m told). If you are looking for something unique in the familiar, I’d check it out. FINAL SCORE: 77%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: