When I was younger, I did not like horror comedies one bit. I felt like the two genres should stay far away from one another and never be melded into this weird funny bloody mess. As I grew older, however, I realized the error of my ways and now I find myself seeking the next best film that fits the bill quite often. Read on to see how Christopher Landon’s Freaky compares to some of the greats we’ve seen over the years.
A fabled serial killer known as The Blissfield Butcher has returned to wreak havoc during homecoming weekend yet again. This time, an ancient Aztecan dagger causes the butcher to swap bodies with one of his teenage victims. Can Millie find the butcher to reverse the curse before it becomes permanent?
Co-written and directed by Christopher Landon, Freaky is actually a film that I was extremely excited about as soon as it was announced. I’ve become a huge fan of Landon’s over the past decade and films like Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse and Happy Death Day are ones that I revisit frequently.
If you’ve seen any of his past projects, it is clear to see that Landon is a master of melding genres together and creating pure entertainment from the concoction. Thankfully, Freaky is no different in this regard. It is funny when it needs to be [and even when it doesn’t] and when the horror takes place, it is as gruesome as you could ever ask for.
Having an R rating truly allows Freaky to shine. Because his previous two films were both PG-13, I expected the same from this one. As soon as the first kill takes place, it was easy to tell that this was not the case… and I couldn’t be happier for it.
Executed with what seems to be a combination of both practical and digital effects, the kills seen throughout the film’s 1 hour and 42 minutes are impressive to say the least. The carnage that meets the victims of the Blissfield Butcher had me feeling like a little child all over again, as the bloodshed really is worthy of any slasher film, comedy or otherwise.
Of course a movie can’t be carried on the body count alone. That is where the performances of the talented cast come in. Everyone here really does do a great job with their respective roles, but it is of course, Kathryn Newton (Paranormal Activity 4) and Vince Vaughn (Wedding Crashers, Psycho) who do the best work in my opinion.
Each of the two actors had not only one role to play here, but dual roles. Things start off pretty simple for the pair — Newton’s Millie is this quiet teen who is subject to all kinds of bullying every day and Vaughn’s Butcher [or Quentin Shermer] is a seemingly overly powerful, masked mass murderer. It isn’t until their souls or “whatever you want to call them” are swapped that their acting chops are put to the test.
Once Millie is in the Butcher’s body, Vaughn’s comedic genius is allowed to pour out at full force. Everything from his reaction to waking up in this new body to how he tries to convince his still teen-aged friends that he is who he says he is is masterfully executed. I knew I was going to enjoy Vince Vaughn in Freaky, but I did not expect to do so as much as I did, quite frankly. There were plenty of times where I found myself laughing out loud and I don’t think that will change with any future re-viewings of the film either.
Similarly, Newton does a fantastic job of her role reversal, as well. Once Millie’s body is overtaken by the conscience of the Butcher, she has a new swagger and no longer takes any crap from the school bullies, students and teachers alike. This is where most of the victims come in, in case you were wondering. Each bully meets a proper demise and watching Millie the Butcher get used to having to do so in a much weaker shell is another source of comedy gold.
The quaint town of Blissfield, which could be any town, USA really is full of super aware teens and old ladies who go on power walks together every morning. Once the Butcher returns, however, these ‘woke’ kids are in for a rude awakening. While some of the dialog these youngsters spew throughout would normally kill me a little inside, it was the ironic delivery that made it more than just tolerable. I appreciate Landon’s sense of humor and I am in full support of having the man’s brand of horror comedy continue to grow.
Freaky at Home
Available now on digital, Freaky will be available to own on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital combo pack from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment this coming Tuesday, February 9. This Killer Switch Edition presents the film in Anamorphic Widescreen 16:9 2.39:1 with English Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0, French Canadian Dolby Digital 5.1, and Latin American Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 audio tracks and optional English SDH, French Canadian, and Latin American Spanish subtitles.
I am always looking for supplemental material with my home releases and I am happy to tell you that Freaky comes with quite a bit of that. Deleted scenes, making-of featurettes about the effects and more, and an audio commentary are all present.
Freaky is every bit as good as I anticipated and then some. The acting is flawless from all parties, the script is hilarious, the kills are bloody enough to appease all slasher fans across the board, and it scores bonus points in my book for featuring a short clip from the $uicideboy$/Travis Barker track “Don’t Trust Anyone!”
I am all for crossovers of any kind (Frankenstein vs. The Wolf Man, King Kong vs. Godzilla, the MCU, etc.) and if there is any kind of truth to the rumor that we could be getting a Happy Death Day and Freaky universe crossover in the future, I will be first in line to see it happen.
In the meantime, I highly recommend giving Freaky a watch for yourself, as I give it 4.5 clam-jam sessions out of 5.