Review: ‘Freaky’ establishes new spin on typical horror film

On+Friday%2C+Nov.+13%2C+%E2%80%9CFreaky%E2%80%9D+was+released+into+theatres.+The+film+scored+a+6.4%2F10+on+IMDb+and+an+83%25+on+Rotten+Tomatoes.+

Makayla Archambeault

On Friday, Nov. 13, “Freaky” was released into theatres. The film scored a 6.4/10 on IMDb and an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Elizabeth Elliott, Staff Reporter

*This review contains minor spoilers for Freaky.

I love slasher movies. The classic tropes and cheesy characters paired with the perfectly timed instrumentals make for the perfect horror setting. When I heard this was a horror/comedy, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the comedic aspects woven throughout the movie give it more heart than would be expected from a movie of this genre and creates a type of social commentary on horror movies.

The horror/comedy movie Freaky from director Christopher Landon, also known for Happy Death Day, was released in theatres on Friday, Nov. 13, and is currently still in theaters. The film follows the story of Millie (Kathryn Newton), a small-town high school student who swaps bodies with the town serial killer known as The Butcher (Vince Vaughn) in a very Freaky Friday manner.

When the souls of the two characters switch, The Butcher is left with an unlimited number of targets, most of which had bullied Millie, a prime example being her woodshop teacher. The Butcher looks for new names to add to his list of victims, anyone who makes snide comments are added, and teachers are no exception. I really like the aspect of this film that demonstrates each victim has a purpose or a reason they were chosen as opposed to at random to fit the horror tropes.

Early in the movie, many parallels are made to classic villains such as Michael Meyers from Halloween and Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. One key difference that brought a new level to The Butcher was the immediate recognition of the actor, which removes the anonymous stalker trope that remains popular in slasher movies. Because audiences have become so accustomed to the mystery of an anonymous killer, there’s something unexpectedly unnerving about watching Vaughn silence his distinctive delivery to fit the stalker/killer mold. 

While I love horror movies, slasher movies in particular, the special effects (SFX) makeup (the gore) in Freaky was a little intense for even my liking. With the absence of actual gore other than an occasional splatter or quick pan over a dead dummy, the makeup was striking and gave a depth that many slasher movies lack. Each scene in the film with The Butcher was equally gory and graphic, from the very beginning of the movie as the cliche group of teenagers are his first victims.

Unlike other horror movies, the plot twists within the film created a new take on the classic horror tropes. The “final girl” trope, popularized by 1980s slasher movies, reverses the gender roles, disempowering the male slasher as she kills him in the final scene. Freaky took this concept to a whole new level.

Not only is Millie able to feel empowered when she is no longer in the body of a petite, bullied teenage girl, but someone who feels strong and invincible. The character is also able to see herself in a new light when The Butcher dresses in a red leather jacket and heels, effectively using sex appeal to lure in the guys who bully her.

The character growth and gender role reversal were portrayed in a comedic but powerful way. However, with all the gender boundaries the film pushed, it would have been nice to see more than one stereotypical gay character and one character of color, which is typical of a horror film.

Freaky surpassed all my expectations. As a horror/slasher movie, Freaky checked all the boxes of being creepy and gory with jump scares and as a comedy, Freaky genuinely made me laugh and challenged social norms, which added to the comedic value. The film had depth to it unlike many movies from both the comedy and horror genres alike.

Overall, I would give this movie a 9/10 and highly recommend it.