Directed by: Christopher Landon
Review by: Livi Edmonson
Starring an unlikely duo, Kathryn Newton and Vince Vaughn, and from the horror mastermind of Jason Blum, aka Blumhouse Productions, “Freaky” is a bizarre horror-thriller about a 17-year-old girl (Newton) who encounters a mystical dagger that results in her switching bodies with a serial killer (Vaughn). The narrative itself is odd and indeed, freaky, (pun intended), but something about the peculiarity of it makes it stand out in a genre of clichéd filmmaking tactics.
The irony of the plot is also where the film humorously succeeds. It manages to flip the iconic “final girl” trope of horror movies on its head by making the character you would expect to be the final girl instead, the notorious killer and the manly, Vince Vaughn, the “final girl.” When I say the film is humorous, though, that does not mean that it is not scary. Trust me, that is coming from someone who absolutely hates horror films. However, I did find the film tolerable given that plot was so refreshing that it gave the movie a certain edge that balanced out the slasher tendencies, even though the tendencies were still existent.
Another reason for the film’s success in both the horror and comedy genres was the performances given by Newton and Vaughn. As you can expect, Vaughn is as hilarious as ever, but Newton, who may be a new face to some audience members, gives a breakout performance, as she effectively takes on the transition from typical teenage girl character to bloody serial killer seamlessly, making both characters utterly likable — if you can believe that. The mixture of the comedy and horror genres more often than not results in a film that is so cheesy or downright tasteless that it misses the mark. Thus, I kind of expected this particular film to plummet like the others, but instead, it managed to keep itself afloat by giving a contemporary outlook on an overwhelmingly redundant genre.
All in all, “Freaky” will still satisfy the horror buffs that visit the theater in hopes of blood and gore, but it manages to stay intriguing enough for even the scaredy cats to enjoy it. I never thought I would enjoy a slasher film, and while I still found myself having to look away from the graphic violence that always seeped its way into the plot, the flick kept me entertained enough to keep watching and enjoying — likely due to the spectacular performances by Newton and Vaughn. This was definitely a far-fetched film and even more so, a risk as far as it being released theatrically, but “Freaky triumphs in its originality, with its underlying post-feminist narrative and violent humor. I give it an 8 out of 10 because I don’t see any other production studios releasing films right now — props to you, Blumhouse.