HOLLYWOOD—I love horror movies, anyone who knows me is well aware of that. However, when I think of horror I think of horror. I want a movie that is suspenseful and leaves me on the edge of my seat. I’m not looking for a comedy or satire, which is not easy to do in the horror genre. A lot of flicks have tried it and failed miserably at it.
How can I best say this, “Freaky” is pretty violent. The level of violence and blood would make you think you were watching a movie from the 80s. It honestly took me back in the opening sequence which I thought was fantastic. A group of teens talking about a local legend and the mythos of a serial killer who happens to come to fruition and to dispatch of them one-by-one in gruesome fashion: it is horror 101, but it works America.
This drives us to our main character, Millie (Kathryn Newton), who injects an edge and softness to a character who Newton has to juxtapose which is not easy to do America. Along for the ride for this mayhem is her pals Josh (Misha Osherovich) and Nyla (Celeste O’Connor). Millie is still struggling with the death of her father, all the while dealing with the angst of being a teenager in high school, bullying, dating, teachers and the fear of growing up. If that was not enough, Millie has to deal with her alcoholic mother, while her older sister Char, who just happens to be a cop.
As a spectator you feel for Millie’s character, but things really don’t kick into gear until the town learns about the murder of the four students causing jokes and utter stress as rumors about the Blissful Butcher portrayed by Vince Vaughn comes to fruition. Vaughn does exceptionally well playing the dual roles. First as a serial killer, than as Millie once his consciousness is transferred into hers when he tries to murder her.
It soon becomes a race against the clock for Millie and her pals to ensure they get their hands on that ancient knife, La Dola that will allow the Butcher and Millie to return to their normal bodies before it becomes too late. It is odd to see a woman as a serial killer and to do it with such conviction is somewhat haunting as a viewer. The fun of “Freaky” is it does balance wit and the horror where you have those moments of chills as you see some of the gruesome kills take place with subtle hints of laughter that playout the movie. We see stereotypes in horror come to light, some funny, some eye-opening and some changing the dynamics of what we expect.
Vaughn and Newton are phenomenal in the body swap that is not just hilarious, but entertaining as hell. You see them as absolute different characters and it works to perfect throughout the movie. Like I said, the kills are very graphic and bloody, which I’m guessing the filmmakers planned to go that route with Jason Blum helming as producer. The guy has revamped some horror classics, while bringing fresh flicks to the theaters in recent years like “Halloween” (2018) and “Happy Death Day.”
There may be plenty out there thinking “Freaky” is for the kiddos, but I would stop you right there, this is a hard R people, not as crazy as some previous horror flicks of the late 70s and 80s, but it absolutely earns the rating it has been given. “Freaky” proves that with the right script, the right actors and direction that comedy in horror can be done right and this is a smart movie that pulls it off effortlessly.