Freaky is another Blumhouse production putting a horror spin on a familiar trope. Like with Happy Death Day, a Groundhog Day style murder mystery, Freaky manages to successfully balance humor with its take on the body-switching scenario. Instead of a mother-daughter coming of age tale, serial killer and victim take a walk in each other’s shoes, leading to bloody results.
Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton (Supernatural, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) play the body swap roles; Vaughn as the Blissfield Butcher and Newton as Millie, a wallflower-type with a broken family but cool friends, and a crush on a football player. Each give their original characters enough quirks to make them distinctive in the short time before the swap occurs. However, the real fun begins once the switch takes place; Vaughn adapts a believable teenage girl persona, giving Millie slightly more charm but equally vulnerable aspects. Newton’s take on the Blissfielf Butcher is menacing while also giving the character different shades to distinguish her and Vaughn’s take on the killer.
Along with the fun body-swapping shenanigans (Vaughn convincing Millie’s friends Nyla (Celeste O’Connor) and Josh (Misha Osherovich) that he’s actually their friend is a true delight), also comes some gory deaths, RIP random students of Blissfield Highschool. The killing doesn’t stop with the switch; the Butcher wastes no time taking advantage of his new look and begins killing at random in broad daylight at the high school.
Some of the familial drama between Millie and her family doesn’t land quite as well, but something can be said for Freaky allowing for the more romantic and vulnerable moments between Millie and Booker (Uriah Shelton) happen while she looks like Vaughn. However, they flirted a little too close to the idea that women can’t be physically strong, though that’s rectified in the final moments.
There’s also a couple of moments involving Millie’s sister, who’s a police officer, that ring tone deaf in a reality where Black people are being killed by police. Nyla, who’s Black, is sent to retrieve a stolen dagger from the evidence lock up, without anyone questioning the danger that puts her in. Millie’s sister pulls a gun on her and refuses to lower it even after Nyla has dropped the evidence. Other instances involve other cops carelessly shooting into the air in order to disperse a crowd. These are aspects of films that we’ve seen before, but especially in 2020, with a world rocked by police brutality and civil unrest, these portrayals matter. It’s time we start paying attention to them.
Speaking of the dagger, Freaky is not great at explaining the lore behind it or why it managed to swap the Blissfield Butcher and Millie. As someone who enjoys lore in these types of movies, it’s a slight disappointment.
Still, Freaky is a lot of gory fun. Don’t miss it.