Freaky review: "Vince Vaughn’s body-swap horror is an unexpected delight"

Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton in Freaky
(Image: © Blumhouse)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

Vince Vaughn’s body-swap horror is an unexpected delight thanks to its two leads and expertly executed action

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Directed and co-written by Happy Death Day’s Christopher Landon, this Blumhouse-backed slasher-com kicks off in frantically gruesome fashion. But it quickly takes a hard left into the supernatural, as Vince Vaughn’s masked killer swaps bodies with unassuming high-schooler Millie (Kathryn Newton, a force), thanks to a full moon and a mystical knife.

Freaky’s supporting cast excels, but it’s the two leads who cut the deepest. Post-swap, Newton revels in the role of remorseless, single-minded serial killer, finding the link between horror and humour necessary for the film to work as well as it does. The Blissfield Butcher’s struggle to adapt his brute-force style to his newfound petite body provides genuine laughs. Newton’s unflinching, menacing glare also spawns surprising moments of empathy when it comes to certain characters’ (near-)deserved comeuppances.

Meanwhile, a 50-year-old Vaughn playing a shy teen trapped in the body of a serial killer should absolutely not work, but it does. The chemistry between him and Millie’s pals is delightful, even in its (intentionally) cringiest moments.

While the horror elements are more gory than scary, the action is expertly executed. Also well-judged are the plentiful callbacks to ’80s/’90s scare flicks and body-swap-coms. But for all the nostalgia, Landon’s managed to craft something that feels fresh, novel, and unexpected.

Freaky is out 13 November in North America with a TBA release date in the UK.

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Production Editor, Total Film

Erlingur Einarsson is a film reviewer and writer, lover of cinema, television, tractors, and basketball. Erlingur has worked at Future for Plc for five years now, having spent time as the Editor for Photoshop Creative, Operations Editor for Digital Camera World, and Deals Editor for Top Ten Reviews. Erlingur currently serves as the Production Editor for our friends over at Total Film magazine – you should expect to find his byline of film reviews and the hottest of takes.