Directed by: Christopher Landon
Written by: Christopher Landon, Michael Kennedy
Starring: Alan Ruck, Celeste O’Connor, Dana Drori, Kathryn Newton, Katie Finneran, Misha Osherovich, Uriah Shelton, Vince Vaughn
Vince Vaughan goes all Jodie Foster/Lindsey Lohan in Christopher Landon’ s horror redo of the much loved body swap tale.
A young teenage girl swaps bodies with a male criminal and we watch in amusement as the real life male comedian tries to pretend to be a different sex high school student, may sound like the the plotline for Rob Schneider’s early noughties flick The Hot Girl, but instead of cheap sexual gags and infantile humour, Christopher Landon follows up his Happy Death Day franchise with a Freaky Friday plot, alongside some genuine bloodshed.
How you take Freaky depends on your love for Landon’s last Groundhog Day style franchise as all three films share the same DNA and you do half expect the character of Tree to pop up at anytime, screaming “I am reliving the same day!!!”.
Unlike those two films through, while FREAKY is also a slasher, the violence here is not so campy, with some scenes really going for the jugular, which will delight and shock those who were expecting a more teen friendly vibe.
Landon has shown before that he knows the typical lay out that is required for this genre and we start with a purposely created cliche opening that leaves us with no doubt that the new bogeyman in town, the Blissfield Butcher (Vince Vaughn) is one evil bad ass.
In a setting straight out of a Friday the 13th flick, four teenagers discover that a killer that many consider an “Urban Legend” is actually not as he turns up at their get together and brutally slaughters them, not before picking up a mysterious dagger that will no doubt play a pivotal part in proceedings.
We then meet Millie (Kathryn Newton) a high school student who has just two best friends as mostly everyone we meet, is just damn horrible to her, setting up the eventual path of their much needed death, because hey…..bullies deserve it right.
Before we get to that part, Millie crosses paths with The Butcher who despite showing some great accuracy in his earlier killings, actually fails this time, his new found dagger sinking into her shoulder and releasing a strange turn of events in which both Millie and Butcher swap bodies.
It’s here that you’ll forgive the films shortcomings as both Newton and Vaughan excell in the body swap, with Vaughan reminding us all of his forgotten comical skills, while Newton goes from a quiet looking teen, to a blood thirsty killer.
There is not much of a plot, with some nonsense that Millie (who is now Vaughan) discovering she/he has 24 hours to get back into her own body, otherwise she will be permanently stuck, which is not a good look considering you are now a wanted serial killer.
By now you are either on-board or not, as much of what happens will leave hard-core Slash fans somewhat cold.
It doesn’t go full meta like the wonderful The Final Girls and some jokes fall kind of flat like an odd scene in which Vaughan now as Millie shares a bond scene with her crush Booker (Uriah Shelton), but when it works it really flies and while it lacks that little added ingredient of what made Happy Death Day so enjoyable, Freaky is a welcome late addition to 2020 and just what us horror fans need in these dire times.
It’s not the perfect love letter to Slash, but does just enough to satisfy……