Home Freaky

Freaky (15)

Cast: Vince Vaughn, Celeste O'Connor, Kathryn Newton
Genre: Horror
Author(s): Christopher Landon, Michael Kennedy
Director: Christopher Landon
Release Date: 02/07/2021
Running Time: 98mins
Country: US
Year: 2020

Blissfield Valley High School student Millie Kessler is bullied and harangued by fellow students but she tries to rise above the abuse. After a homecoming football game, where Millie fulfils her duties as school mascot, she is attacked by a mass murderer dubbed the Blissfield Butcher. He inflicts a non-fatal wound with an ancient dagger and the following morning, Millie and the killer are shocked to discover they have traded bodies.

LondonNet Film Review
Freaky (15)

A petite teenage girl swaps bodies with a hulking male serial killer in director Christopher Landon’s horror comedy, which puts a gleefully ghoulish spin on the beloved children’s novel Freaky Friday penned by Mary Rodgers. The gruesome opening sequence appropriates every mothballed genre trope, characters who foolishly separate from the pack or have sex are doomed to a grisly fate, and quickly establishes the antagonist’s unquenchable thirst for blood. “Don’t underestimate a white man’s propensity for violence,” comments one soon-to-be-victim, which alludes to the film’s bogeyman and is also a self-referential wink from screenwriters Landon and Michael Kennedy…

Almost every knife, chainsaw, hook and spear hits its intended target and the camera seldom flinches from showing freshly hacked limbs and bludgeoned heads in sticky close-up. Macabre humour has a higher miss rate but there is a surprising sweetness to amusingly romantic scenes between a sensitive jock and the heroine while she is trapped inside a middle-aged man’s body. Kathryn Newton and Vince Vaughn enthusiastically embrace the duality of their roles, the latter furiously fluttering eyelids as he captures the inner awkwardness and fragility of a girl recovering from the death of her father.

Meek, mild-mannered Blissfield Valley High School student Millie Kessler (Newton) is desperate to please other people, especially her widowed alcoholic mother (Katie Finneran). Woodwork teacher Mr Bernardi (Alan Ruck) and fellow students bully her mercilessly and Millie can’t muster the courage to approach her classmate crush, Booker (Uriah Shelton). Thankfully, best friends Nyla (Celeste O’Connor) and Josh (Misha Osherovich) provide emotional ballast as she contemplates a college application that would take her far away. After a homecoming football game, where Millie fulfils duties as the school mascot, a dancing beaver, she is attacked by the Blissfield Butcher (Vaughn).

He inflicts a non-fatal wound with an Aztecan sacrificial dagger, stolen from one victim’s home. At midnight as storm clouds swirl, Millie and the killer trade bodies. The Blissfield Butcher is delighted. He can slay with impunity in the guise of a sweet girl and “murder Barbie” doles out bloodthirsty justice to Millie’s tormentors. Meanwhile, Millie now has the face of a killer whose sketched likeness is on every TV news channel and she has just 24 hours to reverse the curse and evade her police officer sister (Dana Drori).

Freaky is an entertaining, gender-bending teen slasher that milks decent laughs from its fantastical premise. Jolts are sporadic yet satisfying and the make-up department certainly does not stint on the gloop and entrails as Blissfield’s mortuary overflows with eviscerated cast. Initial comedic reaction to the body swap is depressingly predictable, The Butcher grabs his teenage breasts while Millie explores her new appendage, but once the script has the sniggering off its system, Landon’s picture settles into a gory groove.

– Kim Hu

London Cinemas Showing Freaky

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