Taking the premise of Freaky Friday and adding a dash of horror, Freaky tells the story of high school student Millie (Kathryn Newton), who switches bodies with the dreaded Blissfield Butcher (Vince Vaughn), after he tries to kill her with a magical dagger. Trapped in the body of a serial killer, Millie must undo the switch before midnight – and before the Blissfield Butcher can claim even more victims at her school’s homecoming dance.
At first glance, this concept runs the risk of falling into some uncomfortable comedic tropes, but thankfully the script is aware of those and goes out of its way to avoid them, with a careful and intelligent comedic hand. Freaky wears its influences proudly, exploring and playing with the conventions of comedy and horror in a very fun and very self-aware way. While it pays delightful homage to the cinematic language of these two genres, it also makes sure to deliver a focused and self-contained story with modern sensibilities.
The writing blends comedy and horror perfectly, and the tone is able to shift from tense and unnerving to funny and genuinely tender impressively quickly and seamlessly. It loses a couple of points for a few below-the-belt jokes and some occasional cringe-inducing “teen-speak,” but these moments are few and far between enough that they don’t interfere with the piece as a whole.
Newton and Vaughn are spectacular in their double roles as Millie and the Butcher, and the supporting cast – particularly Celeste O’Connor and Misha Osherovic as Millie’s best friends – all do justice to the impressive script and establish engaging character dynamics.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a slasher film without gratuitous violence, and Freaky more than delivers in that department with some truly grisly murders. Each of the Blissfield Butcher’s kills is more gruesome and inventive than the last, bolstered by some excellent effects and kinetic action. Despite this, being more comedy than horror, Freaky is generous to more squeamish audience members, telegraphing its murders very clearly for those who might need to cover their eyes.
This is a great watch for slasher fans and comedy fans alike, melding the two genres intelligently in a movie that iterates on what has come before without being derivative. Running the full emotional gamut from terror to tenderness, there’s something for everyone in Freaky.
Freaky is released nationwide on 2nd July 2021.
Watch the trailer for Freaky here: