Sometimes it is wonderful when a movie is exactly what its trailer made it out to look like.
“Freaky” puts a twist on the body-swap tale, when a notorious serial killer (Vince Vaughn) switches places with one of his teenage victims (Kathryn Newton). Katie Finneran, Celeste O’Connor, Misha Osherovich, and Alan Ruck also star as Christopher Landon co-writes and directs.
2020 has been weird and full of ever-changing situations, but I really don’t know why Universal wouldn’t release this film back in October. I get they want to have the Friday the 13th tagline for the posters, but for whatever amount of theaters are up and operating this would have been a fun film for spooky season to see with an (albeit socially distanced) audience (if they really wanted to milk the Friday the 13th thing then put it on PVOD on November 13 instead of December 4). But I am rambling; point is, this film is fun.
The body-swap gimmick is nothing new, it’s been done from “Freaky Friday” (and arguably perfected by Jamie Lee Curtis playing Lindsay Lohan in the 2003 remake) to the “Jumanji” reboots. Here, Vince Vaughn gets to tap into his inner teenage girl, akin to Jack Black in “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.” From flamboyant hand motions to acting awkward around his (her) crush, Vaughn is clearly having a blast in the role, and even manages to be intimidating in the few scenes where he is his normal killer self.
Kathryn Newton is given a little less to do as a killer trapped in a young woman, she mostly just moves around silently before striking her victim. She is definitely solid in the role, but is outshined by Vaughn and her supporting cast (Misha Osherovich as the stereotypical gay best friend is a blast).
Christopher Landon is quietly one of my favorite people working in the slasher field, having written the fantastic and nostalgia time-capsule “Disturbia” and the very fun “Happy Death Day,” among others. Much like “Happy Death Day,” Landon gets to play around with the horror-comedy genre and come up with some pretty creative kills. Some are over-the-top, but that is what makes them all the more fun; it may take a bit away from the scary aspect of the story, but it is never not entertaining.
“Freaky” does sag a bit leading up to its climax and then not exactly know when to end, but thanks to fun direction and a fantastic Vince Vaughn performance it is just a fun time at the movies. I will revisit this out again next October for sure, and even though we’ve traded jack-o’-lanterns for wreaths on our porches you should still seek this one out (whether that be in theaters or VOD).
Critics Rating: 7/10