2 out of 5 stars (has some good moments, but is overall bad)
I wanted to love Freaky. Released by Blumhouse Pictures and helmed by the director of the enormously fun Happy Death Day franchise, it’s being pitched as a slasher film mixed with a wacky body-swap comedy a la Freaky Friday (likely the origin of its namesake). Unfortunately, Freaky is a big step down from both of those movies and a miss on its own merits. Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton give their best, but Freaky’s cool kills and some smile-worthy one-liners are drowned out by inconsistent characterization and head-bangingly bad execution.
High schooler Millie (Kathryn Newton, Pokemon: Detective Pikachu) is reeling from the death of her father a year prior and considering an out of state college to get away from her alcoholic mom (Katie Finneran). Though her loyal friends Nyla (Celeste O’Connor) and Josh (an irritating Misha Osherovitch) try to keep her chin up, Millie’s life is in a rut. That life gets a wrench thrown in when she is stabbed by serial killer the Blissfield Butcher (Vince Vaughn) with a magic knife that causes them to swap bodies. Now in BB’s body, Millie must evade capture, convince her friends to help, and swap back within 24 hours or remain like this forever.
The scariest thing about Freaky is how unbelievable its world and characters are. Good body-swap movies establish consistent personalities and believable worlds for their leads so we can accept the premise and enjoy the characters’ reactions and growth. but Freaky missed that memo. Millie’s personality changes so drastically when played by Vaughn that it feels like a totally new character, the mystical element and comedic possibilities are underexplored, and the supporting characters are annoyingly one-note.
On the positive side, Newton does a good job as the killer, Vaughn occasionally gets a laugh, and the gory goods are delivered. If only the screenwriters took as many stabs at their story as the killer does at helpless teenagers. Despite solid lead performances, Freaky is just a garden-variety slasher with a few good jokes, some fun kills, and an underutilized premise. Skip it.
Rated R for Strong Bloody Horror Violence, Sexual Content, and Language Throughout