07th Jul2021

‘Freaky’ Review

by Alex Ginnelly

Stars: Vince Vaughn, Kathryn Newton, Celeste O’Connor, Misha Osherovich, Katie Finneran, Dana Drori | Written by Michael Kennedy, Christopher Landon | Directed by Christopher Landon

Freaky – a cross between Friday the 13th and Freaky Friday (the two most famous Fridays in film) sounds like an engaging concept; but when put to screen it’s more fun, gruesome and surprisingly entertaining than I ever imagined it could be.

Director Christopher Landon is best known for his slasher take on the 90s classic Groundhog Day with his 2017 film Happy Death Day. Now he is back and this time he’s taken the 70s classic Freaky Friday, starring Barbara Harris and Jodi Foster (or you may be more familiar with the 2003 remake starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan), and again Landon is adding that slasher touch. The concept is the same as before, a good old classic body swap. Vince Vaughn is the Blissfield Butcher, a serial killer in a small suburban town in America, the kind of town you’ve come to expect from every 90s slasher movie (you could easily change the town name to Woodsboro and you’d never tell the difference). After attacking a group of high schoolers in a big fancy house, owned by one of the teens parents (who happens to be an antique dealer) Vince Vaughn comes across an antique dagger, that unknown to him possesses bodying swapping powers. These powers come in to effect the very next night when Vaughn hunts down his next victim, the very shy and very insecure Milly (Kathryn Newton). After the attack the two awaken, in typical Freaky Friday fashion, in the others body. From here the fun picks up and Milly, now in the killers body has 24hours to find the dagger and use it to get her body back.

The take on the Freak Friday body swap is where most the films fun come from, especially in the hands of Vince Vaughn’s performance as Milly. It’s not only the funniest he’s been in years, but also the most endearing and tender, as Milly faces the loss of her father, and its Vaughn who gets the scenes comforting this loss. Vaughn is also used brilliantly in just his size. It’s the first film that I can remember that utilises the size of the actor, who stands at an impressive 6’5″. When he’s playing the butcher he’s as intimidating as Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers, as his physical presence makes him feel unstoppable when hunting down the helpless teens. It also plays for some laughs as Milly starts to discover the advantages of being in a large mans body. The rest of the cast all knock it out of the park too, with Kathryn Newton pulling a stellar performance playing “killer barbie” as she’s once referred to. The supporting roles of Milly’s friends are also stand outs, Nyla Chones and Josh Detmer are two to keep an eye on.

The body swapping comedy plays off all the cliches and scenes we’ve come to expect from this type of film yet it still finds funny and tender scenarios to put our characters into. Freaky doesn’t hold back in getting them play out these scenarios with hilarious consequence and pushing them to the very limit to get the best out of each scene. So it’s easy to say the film hits its comedy beats but it also does an outstanding job of delivering some of the most inventive and gruesome kills I’ve ever seen, they put previous slasher films to shame and I’d recommend looking away if you’re the squeamish type.

A special mention also has to be made to Laurie Rose, the films cinematographer, who gives the film a sense of nostalgia and place in time. There were times the film had a hint of 90s pouring off it. The whole film is screaming 90s teen slasher, and with Laurie Rose behind the camera he brings a suitable visual style that helps bring that 90s feel even more to life. Every piece together leads to an extremely good time at the cinema and it’s a shame the film never got its original halloween release.

If you’re a sucker for a good old fashioned slasher, if you’re a fan of Scream, or Christopher Landon’s previous work then you’ll have a great time with this one, hell if you just love movies it’s a fun time thats guaranteed to give you your moneys worth.

Freaky is in UK cinemas now.

One Response to “‘Freaky’ Review”

  • Kevin Haldon

    I’m really happy to see this get a big screen outing In the U.K. has got to be seen on the big screen