by Hope Madden
Nobody has more fun with the slasher genre than writer/director Christopher Landon. (Well, maybe his writing partner Michael Kennedy.)
Three years ago, the duo created a time loop to allow one victim to return from the dead again and again and again and again until she stopped the marauder. Happy Death Day was so much more fun than it had any right to be, thanks, in part, to a giddy appreciation of the genre and some great casting.
Landon and Kennedy are at it again, and this time the premise and casting might be even better.
What if Freaky Friday met Friday the 13th?
That’s gold right there.
Freaky is as upbeat and lesson-filled as any Disney coming-of-age film, and its body count is as high and as messy as anything in the Voorhees universe. It’s a bloody riot, and Vince Vaughn hasn’t been this much fun since Old School.
Vaughn plays the Blissfield Butcher—at least for a while. But the boogeyman who haunts Blissfield teens right around Homecoming each year steals a cool looking dagger while dispatching nubile youth at an art collector’s house. When he uses the weapon on Millie (Kathryn Newton, Blockers), their souls magically reassign. The evil menace wakes up inside the body of a 5’5” high schooler while Millie wakes up looking like Vince Vaughn.
Oh, the hijinks.
Part of the subversive fun is watching Landon and Kennedy’s wish fulfilment, as the now-evil high schooler dispatches bully teachers, catty bitches and would-be gang rapist jocks. But most of the joy is in watching Vaughn.
He doesn’t overdo it, either. His gestures aren’t wildly feminine—he never feels like a caricature of a high school girl. It’s still funny, but the humor is far less built on a man playing a girl as it is on a petite female inhabiting the body of a really enormous man. That’s mainly the terrain Vaughn and Landon mine for physical comedy, and it is fertile ground.
And the fact that Vaughn so believably conjures the heart of a teenage girl makes any number of scenes—especially the romantic ones—delightfully sweet and tender.
And also, a lot of people die. This is not a PG-13 comedy. But it is a hoot.