New horror/comedy Freaky sees the world’s busiest film studio, Blumhouse Productions, take the concepts behind cult classics Freaky Friday and Friday The 13th, and mash them together – the result is a surprisingly funny, if not a little gory, film that is a lot better than it has any right to be.
Written and directed by Christopher Landon (the man behind the brilliant Happy Death Day franchise), Freaky sees alternative and unpopular high-school student, Millie (Kathryn Newton – Pokemon Detective Pikachu), accidentally swap bodies with a serial killer known in the press as The Butcher (Vince Vaughn – Hacksaw Ridge) after he tries to kill her with an ancient ceremonial knife.
As she tries to get used to being in the body of a middle-aged man the police are looking for, he is using her innocent look as a way to lure in new victims. While she desperately tries to find out a way to reverse the body swap she also has to convince people including her best friends, Nyla (Celeste O’Connor – Ghostbusters: Afterlife) and Josh (Misha Osherovich – The Goldfinch), that she is who she says she is.
Yes, on paper Freaky sounds like a pretty average teenage horror film, but in the hands of Landon the film actually becomes something pretty special. While any horror/comedies tend to be let down by one side or the other, Freaky seems to work on both levels. The comedy hits the spot providing laugh after laugh and even introduces some classic comedic characters (especially with Josh) while the horror will appeal to the more hardcore horror fans as it verges on the creative gory side that Landon is beginning to make a name for himself.
The general plot of Freaky is also surprisingly believable and while it does poke fun at some of the more clichéd tropes that many horror films are filled with these days it never goes so far that it could be considered a parody like Scary Movie.
Of course a film like this can’t just work because of a pretty decent script and one of the biggest drawcards for Freaky is also its most talented asset – Vince Vaughn. Over the years Vaughn has become known for his outrageous comedies such as Wedding Crashers and Couples Retreat and people tend to forget that he has also made some sensational dramas like Dragged Across Concrete and Hacksaw Ridge. To be honest it wouldn’t surprise me if one day Vaughn put in a performance in a serious drama that earned him an Oscar nomination and it is that acting ability that makes him stand out in Freaky. Not only does he have to pull off moments of comedy gold as he has to play a ‘teenage girl’ for a majority of the film there are other scenes where he has to be as menacing as a Jack Nicholson or Anthony Hopkins. The good news is he does both brilliantly.
You could be excused for thinking that Freaky is one of those movies that would never be a must see. But if you like a good, creative horror or are in the mood for a laugh then it is the perfect film. Yes, Freaky is one of the biggest surprises of 2020.
Freaky is currently screening in Phuket and has a ‘15’ classification.
David Griffiths has been working as a film and music reviewer for over 20 years. That time has seen him work in radio, television and in print. You can follow him at www.facebook.com/subcultureentertainmentaus