FREAKY – Film Review

Seventeen-year-old Millie Kessler (Kathryn Newton) spends her days trying to survive high school and the cruel actions of the popular crowd. But when she becomes the latest target of the Blissfield Butcher (Vince Vaughn), the town’s infamous serial killer, her senior year becomes the least of her worries. When the Butcher’s mystical dagger causes him and Millie to magically switch bodies, the frightened teen learns she has just twenty-four hours to get her identity back before she looks like a middle-aged maniac forever.

Back in October 2017, horror director/writer Christopher Landon created a new horror comedy film titled Happy Death Day. When it was released in theatres, I had not heard of it whatsoever at the time. But because I am such a massive fan of film and because I always want to see as many new release movies as possible, I figured I would give it a shot and see what it was all about. Plus the poster looked fairly interesting.

So, on opening night, my friend and I went out to our local movie theatre to see the film at last. My friend didn’t have the greatest expectations going in, but I didn’t really think too much of it. After the film ended, we both walked out of the theatre and we both said that we didn’t really enjoy it too much. We thought it was just okay and didn’t think that it had anything spectacular to offer.

But for some strange reason that I could never comprehend, I felt an urge to rewatch the film when it was released on Blu-ray. I picked it up when it came out and watched it a second time and suddenly everything made sense to me. The film that I at first labeled as bland and just okay now transformed into a film full of humor, heart, and emotion. Ever since then, I have rewatched Happy Death Day more times than I can even count, and I can truthfully say it’s one of my all-time favorite movies now. It’s funny how the world works. Not to mention the fact that the sequel is even better.

Those two films mean so much to me and it’s honestly hard to put into words how I truly feel about Happy Death Day and its sequel. The character of Tree Gelbman is one of my all-time favorite film characters now and is legitimately my favorite final girl (sorry Laurie Strode).

So you can probably imagine how excited I was when I heard that Landon would be making a brand new horror-comedy slasher flick centered around a high school girl who swaps bodies with a deranged serial killer. Sure, we have seen a similar kind of concept before, but never anything as bold and as wild as this. This project, known as Freaky, instantly became one of my most anticipated movies of the entire year, and I was getting a little bit worried that it was going to be delayed, but alas, here we are.

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Surprisingly, Freaky takes place in the exact same universe as Happy Death Day, which was made public by Landon in recent months. Don’t go into Freaky expecting to see familiar faces from that film or even locations, because if you do, you’ll be greatly disappointed. I, however, was not disappointed because while Freaky doesn’t have any concrete references to Happy Death Day, it most certainly feels like a film in that franchise in a really good way.

At this point, I am convinced that Landon is a genius when it comes to the horror-comedy genre. He really hasn’t had a misstep yet, and Freaky is definitely no exception. This is not only the funniest movie of the year (yes, even funnier than Borat Subsequent Moviefilm somehow), but it’s the most heartfelt, exciting, and shocking movie of the year thus far. There are plenty of twists and turns, laughs, and tears to be shed in this game-changing masterpiece.

One of the most incredible things about Freaky is that it will appeal to plenty of people out there. To tell you the truth, this movie has a little something for everybody, no matter who you are. If you go to the theatre wanting to get a fun and intense slasher, you’ll get that. If you want a film with an amazing sense of humor, you’ll get that too. Want a coming-of-age story sprinkled with some beautifully touching moments every once in a while? You better believe Freaky has that and so much more in store.

This is easily the most fun I have had watching a movie in at least a year, and I shouldn’t be surprised but somehow, I am. I had a strong feeling Freaky would be excellent, but somehow the film shattered even my wildest expectations. I can definitely see myself rewatching this film dozens of times and never getting sick of it, much like the Happy Death Day franchise. Landon sure has a knack for making films that are infinitely rewatchable. Freaky is one of those movies where you’ll find more and more things to love with each repeat viewing. And trust me, I’m going to be revisiting this a lot.

But it would be a sin to not mention its lead star Kathryn Newton and how truly phenomenal she is in the role of Millie Kessler. Much like Tree, she has problems she has to work out within herself. Tree started off as a mean person that treated everyone around her quite terribly and didn’t appreciate the little things in life. But as she went on her nightmarish time loop journey, she learned that “every day is a chance to be someone better”. Her character development is truthfully some of the best I have ever seen.

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Millie is honestly just as loveable. She gets bullied at school constantly and has two best friends that are always there for her no matter what. She has a massive crush on a fellow student named Booker (Uriah Shelton) but can’t find it in herself to go up and start a conversation with him. But she also feels like she has to do everything for everyone and doesn’t spend anytime whatsoever thinking about herself. Her journey was equal parts beautiful and riveting, and I can’t wait to see more of her in the future if that happens.

And I honestly can’t see anybody else but Newton portraying this character, either. She brings an incredible sense of charisma and heart to the role that no other actress could have brought. It was almost like the role was written with her in mind, and if that’s the case, I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest bit.

But of course, we also have to mention Vince Vaughn who does a remarkable job in the role of the Blissfield Butcher as well as Millie Kessler. When Millie swaps bodies with the Butcher, it’s hilarious but also tragic. Vaughn does a surprisingly terrific job at portraying a teenage high school student. It’s fascinating that even though I was absolutely looking at a man, the entire film I saw him as Millie.

To be blunt, Freaky is an astoundingly hilarious and enthralling horror slasher comedy that expertly blends several genres into one insanely fun time at the movies. Let’s hope that one day, Freaky and Happy Death Day crossover because I personally would love to see Tree and Millie team up for the ultimate final girl film. Bring it on, Mr. Landon.

Overall Grade: A+

MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody horror violence, sexual content, and language throughout

Cast: Vince Vaughn, Kathryn Newton, Katie Finneran, Celeste O’Connor, Misha Osherovich, Alan Ruck, Uriah Shelton, Radhesh Aria, Dana Drori, Mitchell Hoog, Melissa Collazo

Directed by: Christopher Landon

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Release Date: November 13, 2020

Running Time: 101 minutes

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