Freaky – Film Review
by Fran Winston
Directed by: Christopher Landon
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Kathryn Newton, Katie Finneran, Celeste O’Connor, Misha Osherovich, Alan Ruck
In cinemas now
When I heard that there was going to be yet another “body swap” movie I groaned. There’s only so much you can do with the genre and once you get over the fish out of water scenario or the walk a mile in their shoes morality tale, most of them tend to be rather thin.
So needless to say my expectations were low sitting down to watch this latest offering which sees Vince Vuaghan play the serial killer referred to as the Blissfield Butcher. After stealing an ancient dagger from the scene of one of his slaughters he attacks bullied teenager Millie (Newton) with it. However, instead of killing her it just does its mystical thing and causes the pair to swap bodies. Obviously, this is very good for the Butcher who now resembles a sweet and innocent teenage girl. However, it is not so good for Millie who has to try and convince her friends that it is indeed her inside this hulking middle-aged body. Her efforts to restore her consciousness back into her own body are not helped by the fact that the police are after her (well the Butcher but she’s in his body obvs) and also that the dagger is in an evidence lock-up. Meanwhile, the Butcher is enjoying his newfound anonymity and going on something of a killing spree throughout her school.
I have to say that after my initial trepidation I was more than pleasantly surprised by this. Vaughan is surprisingly good at playing the dual role of the Butcher and Millie. I say surprisingly because, really, can you remember any of his performances since Swingers? He has been dialling it in for some time now. But here he really pulls it out of the bag and is a revelation. Please Hollywood give him more roles where he actually gets to act and not just goof around because he’s actually quite good.
Newton is also brilliant, particularly at embodying the Butcher while he is in her body. She manages to look sweet and innocent but convey sadism behind the eyes and it’s truly chilling,
The story is also quite clever. Body swap movies are usually fluffy but this is dark with a sardonic humour throughout. It manages to have all the standard elements of a slasher horror while also balancing the sweet teen angst storylines simultaneously.
This is entertaining and good fun, even if you’re not a fan of horror films you should enjoy it. It manages to put an interesting spin on a well-worn story conceit, which is rare in itself.