Freaky (2020)

Director: Christopher Landon
Writer: Michael Kennedy, Christopher Landon
Cast: Vince Vaughn, Kathryn Newton, Celeste O’Connor, Misha Osherovich, Uriah Shelton, Emily Holder, Nicholas Stargel, Kelly Lamor Wilson, Mitchell Hoog, Dana Drori, Katie Finneran, Alan Ruck
Seen on: 24.6.2021

Content Note: attempted rape, sexual assault, dubious consent, bullying

Millie (Kathryn Newton) is a normal kid in high school, not particularly popular and largely unnoticed by everyone but her best friends Nyla (Celeste O’Connor) and Josh (Misha Osherovich). But her school is shook from the news that four teenagers were murdered, the homecoming dance canceled and Millie herself finds herself face to face with the killer – The Butcher (Vince Vaughn). When he tries to stab her, the two switch bodies – and Millie has to make sure to get her body back before The Butcher kills everyone she knows.

Since I very much liked the Happy Death Day (and its sequel) and I like body-swap stories, I was looking forward to this film (by the same director) very much. And I’m happy to say that Freaky absolutely fulfilled my hopes for it. I really had a blast with the film.

The film poster showing The Butchter in Millie's body (Kathryn Newton), holding a chainsaw over his shoulder, and Millie in The Butcher's body (Vince Vaughn), pressing a cell phone to her chest.

Bodyswap comedies hinge on the performances of the two people who swap bodies, and in that regard, the film struck gold with Newton in particular. Vaughn was also really good, don’t get me wrong (though I’d say, Jack Black still gives us the gold standard for teenage girl in middle-aged dude’s body in Jumanji), but sometimes his performance is a little too stereotypical. Still fun to watch, though, that’s for sure. Newton, on the other hand, is simply perfect, both as Millie and as The Butcher.

The film certainly knows how to have fun, both with its premise, but also with the kills. I don’t think I have ever seen a movie that so consequently kills off all the assholes (it’s really astounding how many different kind of assholes populate high schools, and all of society, really), making the kills even better and definitely more satisfying. And it also hides the film’s social commentary that is pretty spot-on.

The Butchter in Millie's body (Kathryn Newton) striding confidently through school.

I did find Millie’s best friends a little too stereotypical as characters to really enjoy them, though they are fun enough. Still, there is some bitterness on my side because the Black and the gay character are best friend clichés. That is made up for, though, by Millie’s family – her single mother Coral (Katie Finneran) and her police officer sister Charl (Dana Drori) really work as a family unit with Millie, giving the film its real heart (though the romance with Booker (Uriah Shelton) is also quite cute.

Freaky may not be reinventing the wheel, but it takes full advantage of its premise, knows where the good jokes are and nails them. In short, I had a great time at the cinema with this one.

Millie in The Butcher's body (Vince Vaughn) pointing at something, with her friends Nyla (Celeste O'Connor) and Josh (Misha Osherovich).

Summarizing: great fun.

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