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Blu-ray Review: Freaky

February 9, 2021

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

Vince Vaughn acting like a teenage girl is the main attraction in Freaky, the very entertaining new horror comedy from Blumhouse and Happy Death Day director Christopher Landon that is arriving on Blu-ray this week.

Vaughn stars in the film as a serial killer nicknamed The Butcher, who’s Homecoming killing sprees are the stuff of urban legend around the town of Blissfield. When his latest victim, a shy high schooler named Millie (Kathryn Newton), survives the attack, the two of them end up switching bodies thanks to an ancient dagger with magical powers.

The next day, Millie wakes in the very large, male body of The Butcher, while the killer finds himself able to freely roam the halls of Blissfield High as a teen girl, in search of his next victim. With limited time to break the curse, Millie’s two friends Nyla (Celeste O’Connor) and Josh (Misha Osherovich) must team up to protect their bestie, who is now walking around in the very recognizable body of a serial killer, and get her the right body back before time runs out at midnight and the change becomes permanent.

Landon, who co-wrote the film’s witty script with Michael Kennedy, does a good job of keeping this all entertaining, as he deftly balances elements of high school comedy and hardcore slasher movie without compromising in either regard. Yes, Freaky is essentially built around the gimmick of seeing Vaughn act like a teenage girl, but it’s a gimmick that is pulled off quite well and to very entertaining effect. Vaughn delivers a genuinely good performance in the film, and he does an impressive job of imitating Newton’s mannerisms. Newton, in turn, does fine work taking on the cold, calculating movements of a serial killer stuck in a petite girl’s body.

I’m not sure how much should be read into it, but there are also some interesting themes about identity, bodily autonomy and power dynamics worked into this fantastical setup. Landon’s script has some fun playing around with classic horror movie tropes, starting with the “final girl” cliché. The film also upends stereotypes around how minority characters have historically been portrayed in horror films, by casting Millie’s friends, who happen to be a Black girl and a gay kid, as heroes in the story.

This is all a lot of fun to watch, and the film moves at a snappy and engaging pace that gives us just enough in terms of humour, horror and suspense to feel satisfied without overstaying its welcome. With a setup that allows for both extreme gore and also a lot of laughs, Freaky ultimately serves as a very fun riff on both the slasher movie and body swap comedy genres.

Bonus Features (Blu-ray):

Dubbed the Killer Switch Edition, the Blu-ray includes three deleted scenes, four featurettes on the production, and a commentary track. A code for a digital copy is also included in the package, which comes with an embossed slipcover.

Deleted Scenes (5 minutes, 27 seconds)

The Butcher Lends a Hand (1 minute, 41 seconds)

Charlene Hears a Rumour (35 seconds)

Late for the Party (3 minutes, 9 seconds)

Split Personalities: Millie vs. The Butcher (2 minutes, 24 seconds): Newton and Vaughn talk about adapting to playing each other’s characters.

• Crafting the Kills (3 minutes, 35 seconds): A look at how several of the film’s kills were done using practical effects, including that gruesome table saw scene with Alan Ruck’s wood shop teacher.

• Christopher Landon’s Brand of Horror (2 minutes, 35 seconds): Landon discusses his approach to blending comedy and horror, without compromising either genre.

Final Girl Reframed (2 minutes, 48 seconds): Landon and the cast discuss how the film upends the “final girl” trope and other horror clichés.

Feature Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Christopher Landon

Freaky is a Universal Pictures Home Entertainment release. It’s 102 minutes and rated 14A.

Street Date: February 9th, 2021

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