Freaky review: Hugely entertaining horror-comedy
5 / 5 ( 1 vote )
Written by Belinda
Rating Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton are hugely entertaining in this inspired body-swap horror-comedy.
Director: Christopher Landon Cast: Vince Vaughn, Kathryn Newton Certificate: 15 Where to watch Freaky online in the UK/ US/CAN: Apple (iTunes) / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Rakuten TV / Google Play / Sky Store / CHILI
Freaky Friday the 13th. That was the original title for Freaky and the horror-comedy more than lives up to that inspired pitch. Written by Christopher Landon (Happy Death Day) and Michael Kennedy (Bordertown), it follows Millie (Kathryn Newton), whose high school is haunted by the urban legend of the Blissfield Butcher (Vince Vaughn), a serial killer who stalked the town years ago. But when he attacks her with a mysterious old dagger, they end up swapping places, with her trapped inside his body and vice verse.
What ensues is a brilliantly executed body-swap flick, which taps into the natural humour and inherent fear of the genre. It just so happens that the fear involves a knife-wielding sociopath right out of a classic horror movie. The result dials up the extremities of the situation to 11, maximising the potential for laughs and scares, and the script delivers on both.
That’s partly thanks to a deceptively taut script, which quickly introduces us to Millie’s sister, who’s a police officer, opening up all kinds of unusual opportunities for the Butcher to get dangerously close to an officer of the law. The set pieces and deaths are impressively diverse yet also plausible, from a cryotherapy chamber in the school gym to a mini golf course chase, and the attempts to explain and explore what’s going on are rooted in teen life, from embarrassing poems to first kisses – bringing surprising layers to those key aspects of young adulthood as well as the genre at large.
It’s also thanks to the cast, with Vince Vaughn impeccable as the intimidating, towering killer – but equally flawless as the teenage girl trapped in a middle-aged man’s body. He screams hysterically with the best of them, and throws himself into the physical slapstick of it all with hugely entertaining glee and an unabashed vulnerability. He’s matched beat for beat by Kathryn Newton, who has impressed in everything from Halt and Catch Fire and Blockers to Big Little Lies and The Society. She’s great at playing the villain in teen clothing, dispatching evil glares left, right and centre.
With a knowing score by Bear McCreary and visuals from DoP Laurie Rose, the result is a funny, tense and smart ride – a horror-comedy so enjoyable that you wonder why nobody ever thought of it before.