One film that saw a delayed international release was Christopher Landon’s horror comedy, Freaky. Combining plot points from Freaky Friday and Friday the 13th, the film follows a small town that is plagued by a sadistic serial killer, the Blissfield Butcher (Vince Vaughn) who ends up swapping bodies with Millie, a shy teenage girl (Kathryn Newton). The result is a hilarious film that sees the lead actors having to double up on their performances as they act as the other character when the body swap has occurred. It sounds absolutely ridiculously on paper and it is but it works thanks to the perfect blend of horror and comedy and despite being inspired by other films, it feels refreshing and unpredictable, making it hugely enjoyable to watch.
Directed by Christopher Landon and cowritten by Landon and Michael Kennedy, Freaky is much like his previous directorial effort Happy Death Day in the way that it incorporates plots from iconic films and brings it to the modern day in a new and original way. Not holding back on the gore while remaining hilarious and biting in its comedy, Freaky achieves what a lot of teenage horrors try to do and fail. The star turns by the leads and the strong characterisation of the support characters make it a film that is strong in foundation and gripping to watch.
Vince Vaughn is absolutely fantastic as the Blissfield Butcher, the urban legend serial killer who has been haunting the town for decades. As the Blissfield Butcher, Vaughn is silent and sleek in movement whereas the moment he performs as Millie, we see a complete 180 turn as he really gets into the mind of a teenage girl. Although we have seen Vaughn do comedies and horrors in the past, this feels like something entirely different than anything he has done before. In recent years, Vaughn has clearly been challenging himself and taken on roles that avoid any typecasting such as his supporting turn in Hacksaw Ridge (2016) and a great performance in the second series of True Detective. What makes his performance in Freaky so fantastic is how committed he is to the role where you actually forget that he isn’t a teenage girl at certain points. His character is written brilliantly for development and choosing to have him stay silent until after the body swap was a genius choice so we really can invest in the character.
Kathryn Newton has made a name for herself in horror having previously starred in Paranormal Activity 4 but has also shown her range in a variety of other genres. Where Paranormal Activity 4 saw her as the victim being traumatised, Freaky flips this on its head and allows Newton to play the villain for its majority. Starting the film as regular teenage girl, Millie, Newton is shy and reserved, allowing the troubles of her private life to take over and stop her from planning her future. Knowing the plot while watching the film, it’s difficult to think about Millie being a serial killer and Newton’s killer performance really comes to life after the body swap. At such a young age, Newton has proven herself to be an exciting star on the rise and her performance in Freaky is fearless and fun.
Overall, Freaky may take its inspiration from films of the past but the way it rechannels it for the modern era feels highly original. The great characters and tight writing will have you on the end of your seat thanks to its unpredictability and great fight sequences and imaginative death scenes. If you are looking for a horror film that is entertaining and a lot of fun to watch then you can’t go wrong with Freaky.
What did you think of Freaky? Let me know in the comments below!
Freaky is out in cinemas now!