Freaky Friday meets Friday the 13th in Freaky, a film that doesn’t quite live up to Christopher Landon’s previous outing, Happy Death Day 2 U.
We follow Millie (Kathryn Newton), a bullied high-school student who is an inch from becoming serial killer
The Butcher’s (Vince Vaughn) next victim. Through a series of events,
The Butcher has come in possession of a cursed knife, which, when it cuts its victim, makes the two switch bodies. (The victim and the perpetrator, that is. Not the knife. You get the idea.) The knife strafes Millie, who manages to escape, and the next morning, she is him, and he is her.
To make it clear right up front: Freaky has more lapses in logic than most body-switcheroo films, and that takes a lot. If you go in with intents of poking holes in the story, you’ll have a busy, unenjoyable ninety minutes ahead of you. With Freaky, disbelief needs to be firmly suspended. Manage that, and you will find a fun movie.
Much like the two Happy Death Day films, Freaky is more of a comedy than a horror movie. There are plenty of deaths – graphic ones, too – but they are framed too comedically to be scary or even gross-out. That’s not a bad thing, and had Freaky seen a proper theatrical release, I’m sure many scenes would have caused a lot of whooping in the audience. Instead, a few giggles from the couch will have to suffice.
The film’s conceit, where Butcher-Millie (that’s Millie in The Butcher’s body) has to stab Millie-Butcher before midnight to switch back bodies is, generously put, simple, but it does set up some good situations. Butcher-Millie proving who she is to her friends through a cheer routine gives Vaughn – who is 110% invested in his role – plenty to work with. Newton, too, puts on a laudable performance, though she lacks some of Jessica Rothe’s moxie in the Death Day movies. One could argue that’s part of her role, as Vaughn’s
Butcher is a bulky, lumbering killer, which is the personality she has to put on.
Freaky is certainly an entertaining movie, clearly directed by the person behind Death Day. The horror-movie nods and references are ever-present, almost as plentiful as the story’s lapses in logic. Those can be somewhat hard to get past at times, but as long as you let yourself go, they shouldn’t be too annoying. For the most part, they didn’t get in the way of my enjoyment.
Shaky as it is, I still feel Freaky is a very worthwhile watch for fans of both Death Day and Freaky Friday. Maybe not for the current early-release rental fee, but certainly for the presumably average price tag that will be slapped on it for regular streaming.
The idea of a Happy Death Day/Freaky crossover is being considered: Freaky Death Day.