I’ve always been a fan of horror comedy. Scream is one of my favourite movies, for instance, and though Wes Craven‘s self-aware classic isn’t exactly a ‘comedy’, it’s definitely a lot more slapstick than your average spooky, slasher thriller. In particular, I’ve really loved Christopher Landon‘s movies in the past, specifically Happy Death Day, which I was so very pleasantly surprised by on first watch.
Landon returns to the director’s seat with Freaky, a movie which came out in the height of the pandemic last year. Like his other films, Freaky has that horror comedy vibe to it, taking the best parts of Freaky Friday and flipping it on its head in a more gruesome, bloody way. Starring Kathryn Newton and Vince Vaughn as the body-swapping pair, it shows us what happens when a raging serial killer inadvertently wears the guise of a teenage high school girl. You can probably guess simply from that minute summary that the quirky premise itself has potential for something very, very funny.
Freaky Friday, Friday the 13th, loving homage, yadda yadda yadda – you’ve heard it all before. Freaky is the exact summation of all of those things, so I won’t waste time delving into any of it. It’s pretty obvious when you think about it.
Honestly, I was expecting more from this. Especially – as I’ve already alluded to – because I was such a fan of Landon’s Happy Death Day. It’s clear what he was trying to do here, using all of the usual horror tropes and poking fun of them, but most of the jokes don’t land unless they come from Vince Vaughan’s mouth. Maybe (as usual) my expectations were too high. Unlike with Happy Death Day, for which I had no expectations whatsoever, I saw Newton and Vaughn on the movie poster along with Landon’s name and thought “YEP, that’s gonna be great.” Setting my hopes too high has always been an issue for me, so maybe it’s not that the film itself is exactly bad, but that I was looking for more.
Plot-wise, it’s not that it’s completely boring to watch; there’s some fun to be had here and it can be mildly entertaining at times. However, there are absolutely no surprises here. It’s obvious where it’s going at every turn and nothing will make you say “wow, I didn’t see that coming!” The only sense of mystery comes from not knowing how it ends, and that just isn’t enough in this case. In fact, I don’t even really remember how it ends so… it seems that even the mysterious conclusion didn’t really make much of an impression either.
Vaughn is the star of the show, but Kathryn Newton does her job well enough too. The only other praise I have for the cast goes to Kate Finneran as the main character’s mother… sadly, the rest of the actors were either deeply annoying or painfully average. Whilst I empathise with the fact that the budget for this movie was only $6 million, it’s clear that the majority of that funding went on its two main stars, leaving the rest of the cast to be filled up with questionably inadequate faces.
There are some decent elements here: the premise is good, the score is okay, some of the deaths are out there and ridiculous… but that’s just it. It’s all just okay.
So an absolute average score is all I can give it. A shame.
Freaky is available to rent on Amazon, Apple TV+ and the Sky Store for £15.99 – it is still technically ‘brand new’ as it only just left cinemas, so this fee is on the higher end.
TQR Category Ratings:
Costume & Set Design:
Overall Enjoyability Rating: ½