New Releases: Freaky (2020) - Reviewed


Photo Courtesy of Universal

Body swapping films can definitely be fun--actors get a chance to play against type and there's room for lots of fish-out-of-water type gags. The premise for Freaky (2020) sounds great on paper: a young high school girl named Millie (Kathryn Newton) trades bodies with a man (Vince Vaughn) who also happens to be a serial killer known as the Blissfield Butcher. Unfortunately, despite the clever hook, the execution leaves a lot to be desired.

Freaky starts out on a good foot with an extended slasher film style sequence with the Blissfield Butcher (who looks like store brand Jason) stalking some teenagers and brutally murdering them. The practical gore effects are great and there a few inventive kills. After this it switches to Millie's point-of-view and her attempts to fit in at her high school. Millie's mother is briefly shown to be an alcoholic and it's also hinted at that she doesn't get along with her older sister who is a cop. It's an attempt to give Millie some sort of character depth and later an arc, but it's touched on in such a shallow way that it ultimately has no pay off in the final act. The shift from horror to coming-of-age is jarring and it lingers way too long on this segment of the narrative.


Photo Courtesy of Universal


Due to a highly contrived set of circumstances involving a mystical knife (that's hardly explained) and encounter between Millie and the Blissfield Butcher ends up with them swapping bodies. They have twenty-four hours to swap back or it's permanent. The film picks up a bit more at this point and it's amusing to see Millie and Butcher come to terms with the situation. Vaughn especially seems to be having a good time acting like a teenage girl in an overgrown body. Where this film falters the most is the writing, none of these teenagers feel authentic and almost every line they utter is cringe-inducing. It's a bunch of stereotypes (meathead jocks, gay best friend, mean popular girl) that have been dusty since the '80s. Most of the jokes fall flat and Vaughn's physical performance is what carries the film. There are a few kills scattered here and there, coming from Millie's serial killer possessed body, but they are yawn-inspiring and dull. The main issue is that Freaky can't decide if it wants to be a gruesome slasher or a teen comedy and it doesn't do either one very well.

On the technical side, its a well shot if dully composed, but there are a few scenes towards the end with some excellent lighting choices. The music is unobtrusive and forgettable and really the only thing that stands out is the gore which is done well. Freaky isn't the worst movie ever or anything, but it's just so mediocre that it's destined to be the last choice pick at a Redbox for a boring evening.

--Michelle Kisner