Freaky (2020)

Freaky (2020) Cover

Happy Death Day director Christopher Landon directs and writes Universal Picture's newest film Freaky- a film that is utterly stupid, over-the-top, unrealistic, but is still fun. You are walking into a zany comedy; not a terrifying horror film. Freaky is the type of film that is incredibly easy to nit-pick at how unbelievable it is. However, if you can buy into the wacky premise there is a decent amount of laughs and adventure to warrant giving this film a watch.

A shy high school senior named Millie (Kathryn Newton) is picked on at school. One day an infamous serial killer (Vince Vaughn) stabs Millie with a mysterious dagger that causes the two to switch bodies. 24 hours is all Millie has in order to reverse the changes or she is stuck in the body of an older man who is wanted by the police forever.

Freaky is a film where you can turn your brain off and just watch the creative vomit of Christopher Landon’s mad mind propel you into a bizarre journey. The pacing is real sharp- it does not meander or overstay it's welcome. Clocking in at one hour and forty minutes, the plot always has some intriguing aspect to it and Landon understands how to quickly change the circumstances to sustain audience engagement.

Vince Vaughn is the star of this movie and is incredibly fun to watch play a teenage girl. His mannerisms and voice truly allow this unbelievable premise to come to life. This movie hinged on the fact if Vaughn could interestingly interact with a number of characters known by Millie and he succeeds at every single interaction. My favorite interactions are between him and Millie’s mother (Katie Finneran) and him and Millie’s love interest (Uriah Shelton)- well-earned laughs in both scenes!

Kathryn Newton does the best she can with what she is given as Millie but is unfortunately not given too much substance to shape her character. The high school bullies are embarrassingly contrived and that would be okay in a movie about switching bodies. However, if the purpose of showing our protagonist being bullied is for us to feel empathy for her then these scenes needed to be written with a serious tone that felt real. Instead, these are annoying teenagers that are bullies for seemingly no reason. Newton and her friends, despite being interesting, feel very hollow. Even as the serial killer, Newton is not given much to do other than robotically pursue murder.

Cinematographer Laurie Rose and Editor Ben Baudhuin are both fantastic at creating a beautiful looking movie that is spliced together in a compelling way. The scenes that cut rapidly during the “switch” sequence are done in a manner that feel magically mysterious. Scenes are well-lit, even in the dark, and it is easy to decipher what is happening in each frame.

As someone who is critical, it is the film’s absurdity which refrains me from shouting with praise, “This is an absolute must-watch” as there’s nothing phenomenal about it. It is a simple enjoyable one-timer I would recommend if the synopsis sounds interesting to you. Freaky delivers what it advertises and you should know what to expect when going into a film like this in the same way you should know what to expect when eating cake. If you do not like cake (or absurdity), then don’t eat it (or watch it). If you can put forth a suspension of disbelief there are parts of this film to look forward to and you can get excited about heading to the theater!

Final Verdict:If you can buy into the wacky premise there is a decent amount of laughs and adventure to warrant giving this film a watch.