Director: Christopher Landon
Staring: Vince Vaughn, Kathryn Newton, Katie Finneran, Celeste O’Connor, Musha Osherovich and Alan Ruck
In 2017 Christopher Landon directed Happy Death Day, a comedy-horror that took an old comedy film set up, being stuck in a time loop and added a horror spin to it. Happy Death Day is fantastic. It may sound stupid when first hearing about it, but it is an excellent film that’s funny and tense and engaging. The sequel Happy Death Day 2U is also surprisingly great. In my opinion both of these are modern horror classics and will join the ranks of Scream, Halloween and Friday the 13th as films that are passed down through generations of horror fans.
Now Landon, this time writing and directing, has taken another traditional comedy set up, body switching and combined it with a horror twist. The result is Freaky and it’s a pretty decent comedy-horror. It’s not as good as Happy Death Day, but that is a lot to live up to. On its own it is enjoyable and fun. There’s a lot of humour some tense moments throughout.
Vince Vaughn (mostly known for comedy movies, such as Dodgeball and The Internship, but before Freaky, also Norman Bates in the 1998 Psycho remake) is the Blissfield Butcher, an urban legend of a serial killer in the small town of Blissfield. After finding a mystical dagger in the tense opening, he attempts to kill Millie Kessler (Kathryn Newton, Little Big Lies). In doing so they end up switching bodies and Millie, in the Butcher’s body, has until midnight to reverse it or she is stuck like that forever.
Freaky is part Halloween/Prom Night and part Freaky Friday (it’s a shame that Jamie Lee Curtis doesn’t make an appearance), it takes the tropes of body-swap stories and combines them into a slasher. Millie is what would be the ‘final girl’ in most slasher films and it’s an interesting idea to swap her with the unstoppable murderer. It’s not particularly scary and for the most part you know the main characters are going to be okay, it would ruin the comedy otherwise. There are some tense scenes, some good deaths and a good number of jump-scares.
The film is too long though, it loses steam towards the end and there’s a fake out ending that isn’t needed. Combined with some clunky dialogue and jokes that aren’t always funny and this stops Freaky from being a modern comedy-horror classic like Happy Death Day.
Freaky is an enjoyable film, it’s not spectacular and won’t be topping anybody’s top horror film lists, but it’s funny and an interesting concept. It’s a shame it isn’t funnier, but it’s not a bad way to spend an evening. This would make a very good Halloween night film to watch with a bunch of friends.