Walt Disney Studios struck the proverbial motherlode in 1976 with its now-classic body-swap comedy Freaky Friday, starring Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris as a daughter and mom who change our bodies. Each Foster and Harris obtained Golden Globe nominations for his or her performances, regardless that the movie obtained blended evaluations. The studio has returned to that vein a number of occasions, with a 1995 TV film remake, a 2018 TV musical for the Disney Channel, and a critically acclaimed 2003 remake with Lindsey Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis within the lead roles.
The most recent twist on the body-swapping idea isn’t even remotely family-friendly. Vince Vaughn stars as an getting older serial killer who switches our bodies with a hapless teenaged lady in Freaky, which additionally pays homage to basic teen slasher films like Friday the thirteenth (1980) and Scream (1996). Common Footage debuted the movie at Past Fest in October. The movie hit theaters (regardless of the pandemic) on Friday, November thirteenth, garnering strong evaluations and eking out $7.2 million on the field workplace to this point—not a foul exhibiting contemplating what number of film theaters stay closed. It is now accessible on VOD, and makes for an entertaining, if familiar-feeling, weekend watch.
(Some spoilers beneath.)
Director Christopher Landon is not any stranger to horror, having helmed three movies within the Paranormal Exercise franchise. He is additionally the mastermind behind 2017’s pleasant horror/comedy mashup, Blissful Dying Day—principally a mix of Scream and Groundhog Day, through which sorority sister Theresa “Tree” Gelbman (Jessica Rothe, Utopia) is murdered on her birthday by a killer in a Babyface masks and finds herself reliving that day time and again. Landon adopted up with final 12 months’s equally entertaining sequel, Blissful Dying Day 2 U, which added an ingenious multiverse twist and paid specific homage to Again to the Future II. So a horror/comedy mashup of Freaky Friday and Friday the thirteenth looks as if a pure follow-up.
The official synopsis just about says all of it:
Seventeen-year-old Millie Kessler (Kathryn Newton, Blockers, Huge Little Lies) is simply making an attempt to outlive the bloodthirsty halls of Blissfield Excessive and the cruelty of the favored crowd. However when she turns into the latest goal of The Butcher (Vince Vaughn, Zoolander, Mr. and Mrs Smith), her city’s notorious serial killer, her senior 12 months turns into the least of her worries.
When The Butcher’s mystical historic dagger causes him and Millie to get up in one another’s our bodies, Millie learns that she has simply 24 hours to get her physique again earlier than the change turns into everlasting and she or he’s trapped within the type of a middle-aged maniac ceaselessly. The one downside is she now seems like a towering psychopath who’s the goal of a city-wide manhunt whereas The Butcher seems like her and has introduced his urge for food for carnage to Homecoming.
With some assist from her mates—ultra-woke Nyla (Celeste O’Connor, Ghostbusters: Afterlife), ultra-fabulous Joshua (Misha Osherovich, The Goldfinch) and her crush Booker (Uriah Shelton, Enter the Warriors Gate)—Millie races towards the clock to reverse the curse whereas The Butcher discovers that having a feminine teen physique is the proper cowl for just a little Homecoming killing spree.
There might be blood
The success of the body-swapping idea in any given movie all the time rests on the shoulders of its leads, who should nimbly change between characters. Vaughn and Newton don’t disappoint. Vaughn particularly shines at channeling his interior teenaged lady, regardless of his hulking 6’5″ body—and never simply within the apparent slapstick moments, like when he performs the Blissfield Excessive mascot dance to persuade Josh and Nyla it is actually him. He additionally brings out Millie’s candy vulnerability in short tête-à-têtes together with her mom, Paula (Katie Finneran, Brockmire) and with Booker. And he aptly conveys Milly’s delight at having the ability to pee standing up, and eventually being large and powerful sufficient to face as much as her highschool tormenters.
On the flip facet, The Butcher in Millie’s physique reveals a powerful trend sense and relishes having the ability to slide underneath everyone’s radar as an “harmless” highschool scholar, though he should additionally come to grips with being significantly stronger and weaker, making it a teensy bit more durable to kill his targets. Talking of these targets, Freaky hews to the strict morality code of basic slasher films: those that die, inevitably did one thing to “deserve” it, just like the imply lady who torments Millie, or the wooden store instructor who revels in publicly humiliating her.
Whereas I very a lot loved the movie, I am unable to fairly shake this niggling feeling that it does not work fairly in addition to the Blissful Dying Day films, regardless that Landon has said the 2 worlds “share the identical DNA.” He has not dominated out a Freaky sequel—like Jason Voorhees, The Butcher might all the time come again—the place Millie and Tree lastly meet. (For the document, I’m right here for that.) Maybe that is as a result of there’s solely a lot you are able to do to make the basic slasher movie tropes appear recent—particularly since they’ve already gotten the horror/comedy remedy with the massively profitable Scream franchise and Josh Whedon’s sensible Cabin the Woods. That is some fairly stiff competitors.
Nonetheless, Landon and his solid are clearly having a blast, and Landon all the time infuses his horror/comedies with a little bit of coronary heart—Tree coping with the loss of life of her mom, as an example, whereas Millie has misplaced her father, and her mom has descended into alcoholism to manage. Predictable although it might be, Freaky finally succeeds in mixing horror, humor, and pathos in simply the correct measures.
Freaky is now accessible on VOD, in addition to taking part in in choose theaters.
Itemizing picture by Common Footage