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Freaky Review – IGN

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Freaky’s ingenious premise is so simple it is almost shocking that no one has come up with it until now. Body swap comedies were once de rigueur, yet Hollywood never thought to pair it with another prevalent sub-genre: the slasher movie. Even the film’s original title, Freaky Friday the 13th, seems so obvious it is almost infuriating. It was right there, Hollywood! Anyway, the end result — Freaky — was well worth waiting for.Kathryn Newton plays Millie, a high school student, who unexpectedly switches bodies with a middle-aged serial killer, the Blissfield Butcher, played by Vince Vaughn. That is basically it. Throw in a ticking clock element where they have to switch back within 24 hours, or they’ll stay that way forever, and you’re done. This hot dish of humor and gore doesn’t need over-saucing. Directed and co-written by Christopher Landon, Freaky is a perfect companion piece to another of his movies, Happy Death Day. Reteaming with producer Jason Blum and Blumhouse Productions, they work their magic again, toying with tropes while maintaining a freshness and uniqueness that never feels derivative.While Happy Death Day and its sequel were PG-13, Freaky earns its R-rating, delivering an ample body count and some innovative kills that elicit laughs as much as they do shock. What Freaky doesn’t do is rely on that, squander it, and consider it enough for the audience. The movie has set-pieces that might become genre fan favorites, but Freaky is really about the whole and not solely the (body) parts. It’s cohesive. Right from the get-go, with an early massacre, the tension is there, the darkness and the humor are on display, deftly choreographed and pulling the viewer in. That gutsy choice sets the bar high in the very first minutes.

Vaughn and Newton pull double duty playing both the killer and the teenage girl, giving each an energy that could easily have tipped into hammy or campy yet never does. They imbue both characters with vigor, commitment, and physicality, and the levity and darkness that they bring is never anything other than a blast. There is an intensity to Newton’s stare as the killer that cuts like a knife and an air to Vaughn’s Millie, which genuinely makes you wonder if this is the most fun he’s had with a role for well over a decade. While Newton has undoubtedly arrived here, Vaughn is back in a big way.

Kudos must be given to Misha Osherovich as Josh and Celeste O’Connor as Nyla, Millie’s best friends. Both bring an entertaining and engaging balance to the equation creating a believable and immediately winning dynamic. Similarly, composer Bear McCreary brings home the bacon when it comes to Freaky’s score which drives the movie forward with urgency and confidence.

What Freaky also manages to do, seemingly effortlessly, is to include humanity and vulnerability to some of the relationships which culminate in a sweet moment between Vaughn, as Millie, and her mother, played by Kate Finneran, in a changing room. It is beautifully executed and punctuates the movie perfectly before diving back into the madness. And while Freaky also ticks the horny teens box, the ways Landon handles sex and sexuality are refreshingly heart-warming and, on occasion, laugh out loud funny.

Freaky is not without its flaws, though. The backstory of the dagger used to try and kill Millie — and which had a pivotal role in the body swap — gets a little lost in the mix. Furthermore, the ending is something of an anti-climax considering the build-up to it. It’d be interesting to find out if the ending Freaky delivers is the one that was initially intended or what, if any, alternatives may have been left on the cutting room floor and why. Those issues aside, Freaky is one of the most entertaining films of the year and more than lives up to the promise of its fun trailer.

IGN’s Best Reviewed Movies of 2020

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