As we all struggle through this year – and through the personal and financial struggles that COVID has brought with it, more than ever we need something to take our minds off the real-life horrors going on around us – and Universal Pictures and Blumhouse are happy to oblige with the fun as hell body-swap flick – FREAKY.
The storyline is your pretty basic body swap fare – the twist is, instead of a boy switching body with his dad, or girl with mom – we get a middle-aged serial killer – on the hunt for some fresh kills in and around Blissfield High. Known as The Butcher, and feared by the town, Vince Vaughn plays the role convincingly enough, being menacing and brooding, a killing machine not unlike Michael Myers or Jason. We also find ourselves wrapped up in the life of teenager Millie – portrayed by Kathryn Newton as a mousy, backward young woman, just trying to get through the school day unscathed. Instead, she finds herself targeted by The Butcher. After the obligatory chase and capture – we get to the meat of the story.
Through the use of a mystical dagger – and some bad weather – our serial killer and high school girl find themselves in each other bodies – and this is when the true fun begins. Vaughn takes the ball and runs with it – now playing the mind of a 17-year-old girl attempting how to maneuver the body of a middle-aged man. He is quite simply, brilliant.
Equally as brilliant is Kathryn Newton – who now plays a middle-aged man learning how to work the body of a young woman. It’s often funny – sometimes disturbing but at all times, incredibly entertaining.
Tying it all together is a supporting cast that does just that – supports, and incredibly well – hats off to Celeste O’Connor as Nyla – Misha Osherovich as Joshua, and Uriah Shelton as Booker. The way they play off Vaughn and Newton as they switch bodies – and personalities make it all seem plausible and possible – they sell it and that is a big reason why we buy it.
Tropes are skewered, cliches are demolished and through it all it still manages to remain smart and sharp and fun.
Director and writer Christopher Landon has proven he has a knack for these “teen films” – I’m sure you remember Happy Death Day – he kinds of reminds me of a demented John Hughes – you know – Sixteen Candles, with a serial killer.
The biggest selling point for me was that I never knew what to expect next – the film isn’t what it appears to be – I mean, it is but – it’s not. Have I confused you? Good – then go see this one for yourself and decipher what the hell I’m trying to tell you.
Lots of high points in this one – it is razor smart, doesn’t short change on the mayhem and is just overall one hell of a good time.
FREAKY is in theaters as you read this – and if theaters are yet to be open in your area or, you not comfortable heading to the local cineplex, Jason Blum has teased that FREAKY will be heading to VOD by the end of the month.