What do you need to spin a yarn about teenagers in danger, that twists the usual Slasher/Comedy film in some unique way, yet stays true to the original genre?
Simple. First, you borrow every cliché in every film of its type that came before it and blends it into a slickly shot, gory, playtime piece that your projected audience is both used to and hungry for. Second, you stir in all the elements of the old body-swapping trick, and lastly, you make it an unexpected gender-blending outing.
That's exactly what director Christopher Landon (Happy Death Day) has done here. Not to say it's a bad thing, because in his talented hands it almost works beautifully, but it screams familiar much too strongly. He's put all the elements and gamesmanship of the well-known movie slashers Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees into the center of a "Freaky Friday" melee and twists it all to frame a surprisingly entertaining film.
All the expected gruesome murders abound here, exactly as you'd expect, with some unusually wicked twists and some surprising wonderful cast driven comedy. You'll feel both the familiar and the new in "FREAKY", which will make you want to see the story through to its obvious bloody conclusion.
Here's The Storyline…
A typical victim, the petite, blond, awkward, seventeen-year-old Millie (Newton) spends her days dealing with her high school's cruel popular crowd. It's her biggest problem until the night she becomes the target of the town's masked psychopath, the Blissfield Bucher (Vaughn). Unable to escape his pursuit, and as he plunges a mysterious ancient dagger into her shoulder, they magically switch bodies.
Waking up in her body, the Butcher realizes he has a full playground of teenagers he can gleefully kill without being suspected. On the other hand, when Millie wakes up in his body, she realizes it creates multiple problems for her, as the Butcher's face has been seen and spread all over town. To make things even worse, she learns she has only 24 hours to change back or the switch remains permanent.
Sounds pretty familiar, doesn't it? Well, it is and it isn't. Newton's take on a homicidal "Barbie" is deliciously relentless and filled with an infectiously murderous delight.
Vaughn, usually a good actor, doesn't fare as well as his counterpart. His over the top interpretation of a teenage girl trapped in a man's body, even with a batch of comic lines, leaves much to be desired. He's usually good with off the track comedy, but he is kind of miss cast here, as both good and bad characters.
My take: "FREAKY" is well-crafted, but not a particularly scary or funny film. However, if you like Slasher movies, you'll probably enjoy this tongue-in-cheek one.
Rating: 3 Stars (out of 5) "FREAKY" is Rated R for Sexual Content, Language