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Freaky First Reviews: Bloody, Hilarious Fun

Critics say Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton are clearly having a ball playing each other in this satisfying, surprisingly effective body-swap slasher.

by | November 2, 2020 | Comments

The original title of Freaky Friday the 13th says all you need to know about the premise behind Freaky: it’s a body-swap comedy crossed with a slasher film.” And the fact that it’s directed and co-written by Christopher Landon, who mashed up the slasher genre with time-loop sci-fi for Happy Death Day and its sequel, should tell you if you’ll be down with the tone of his latest.

However, the first reviews out of the gate stress that the R-rated Freaky is better in the horror department, particularly with its kills, and yet still has more heart than expected as well. Plus, the movie has some memorably hilarious and scary performances from Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton as the two leads who wind up with each other’s roles.

Here’s what critics are saying about Freaky:


Will it satisfy fans of slasher horror?

Freaky is easily one of the best supernatural slashers to come along in this era of modern horror.
– Heather Wixson, Daily Dead

It’s the biggest game-changer on the slasher scene since Scream.
– Michael Gingold, Rue Morgue Magazine

The slasher genre is ready to return in the 21st century with a caustic vengeance. And I’m here for it.
– Terry Mesnard, Gayly Dreadful

The movie has set-pieces that might become genre fan favorites.
– Simon Thompson, IGN

It’s an out and out blast that finds Landon inching closer and closer to slasher masters like Craven and Carpenter.
– Ryan Larson, Consequence of Sound


Does it feature good kills?

Freaky ensures every death counts, delivering maximum gore or a creative demise. In short, it earns its R-rating.
Meagan Navarro, Bloody Disgusting

Freaky earns its R-rating, delivering an ample body count and some innovative kills that elicit laughs as much as they do shock.
Simon Thompson, IGN

Some of the kills [are] so gruesome they almost push the limits of its hard-R rating, with a brilliant table saw kill the highlight of the film.
Chris Bumbray, JoBlo

The kills are universally juicy.
Michael Rougeau, GameSpot

I wouldn’t say that there’s anything so hugely or creatively game-changing, but they do all play well and also appropriately lean into the horror-comedy of it all.
Perri Nemiroff, Perri Nemiroff


Freaky

(Photo by Blumhouse Productions)

How effective is the body-swap theme?

Freaky‘s gimmick, thankfully, never wears thin.
Matt Donato, What to Watch

[It’s] so much better than an elevator pitch of “The Hot Chick Meets Jason” would suggest.
Terry Mesnard, Gayly Dreadful

Using the formula in a slasher comedy instantly establishes a bottomless well of potential, but very little of it makes it to the screen in Freaky.
Sean O’Connell, CinemaBlend

Unfortunately, Freaky‘s fun premise is tripped up by clunky writing, and the performances from its two talented leads are completely inconsistent with one another.
Michael Rougeau, GameSpot


Is it funny?

It’ll make you laugh, a lot, and it’ll make you cheer.
Meagan Navarro, Bloody Disgusting

It’s hilarious to see Newton struggle with the restrictions of her new body, and yet equally awesome to see her takes names in her killer new duds and moves.
Ryan Larson, Consequence of Sound

I’d wager that Freaky probably leans more towards comedy than it does horror for most of the running time.
Chris Bumbray, JoBlo


Does it acknowledge its predecessors?

Freaky features…a handful of horror references that left me grinning from ear to ear the entire time.
Heather Wixson, Daily Dead

When you start to worry that this will be a love letter in the form of endless references and Easter eggs, Landon and Kennedy quickly give the center stage over to what’s most important: the characters.
Meagan Navarro, Bloody Disgusting

Freaky throws all sorts of nods against the wall, waiting for one of them to stick and take the movie in an interesting direction. It kind of doesn’t.
Sean O’Connell, CinemaBlend


Freaky

(Photo by Blumhouse Productions)

Does it do anything new for the genre?

Freaky is as much a new beginning as it is a love letter to the classics of yesterday.
Matt Donato, What to Watch

[It] hits all the narrative beats you want from these types of stories, but then also pushes its story into some new directions.
Heather Wixson, Daily Dead

Not only does [it] pay loving tribute to the famous slashers of horror history, but… distinctively and importantly transplant[s] the slasher into today’s world.
Ryan Larson, Consequence of Sound

It doesn’t deviate much from the formula… Sometimes there’s comfort in the familiar, and Freaky is a big warm hug.
Meagan Navarro, Bloody Disgusting


Is it forward-thinking in any other ways?

There are some aspects of Freaky that explore sexuality in a very different way than we’ve ever seen in a mainstream horror movie… I wish more films were brazen enough to tackle this topic the way Freaky does.
Heather Wixson, Daily Dead

The ways Landon handles sex and sexuality are refreshingly heart-warming and, on occasion, laugh out loud funny.
Simon Thompson, IGN

The scene that shines the most is a tender moment between Vaughn’s Millie-possessed body and her love interest, Booker… arguably one of the most important scenes in mainstream horror to date. Not hyperbole.
Ryan Larson, Consequence of Sound

Gender swapping is inherently queer and Freaky plays with gender conventions in fun and surprising ways.
Terry Mesnard, Gayly Dreadful


Freaky

(Photo by Blumhouse Productions)

What else does the movie do right?

Freaky is the real deal – a horror comedy with heart.
Drew Taylor, Collider

What Freaky also manages to do, seemingly effortlessly, is to include humanity and vulnerability to some of the relationships.
Simon Thompson, IGN

I love that for a movie that nails both the comedic and genre aspects so well, it also takes the time to get us invested in these characters on an emotional level.
Heather Wixson, Daily Dead

Composer Bear McCreary brings home the bacon when it comes to Freaky‘s score, which drives the movie forward with urgency and confidence.
Simon Thompson, IGN

For McCreary’s part, his ability to switch vibes on a dime, all with the simple change of a tune, is not to be taken lightly.
Ryan Larson, Consequence of Sound


How is Vince Vaughn as Kathryn Newton?

Vaughn’s performance is…miraculous.
Drew Taylor, Collider

[His performance] genuinely makes you wonder if this is the most fun he’s had with a role for well over a decade… Vaughn is back in a big way.
Simon Thompson, IGN

He uses his oft-forgotten pure physicality to be intimidating and frightening when playing the Butcher, but ably captures the essence of a teenage girl without playing into stereotypes or generalizations.
Ryan Larson, Consequence of Sound


And what about Kathryn Newton?

Newton does ‘scary’ very well.
Heather Wixson, Daily Dead

She is so much fun to watch playing a serial killer.
Perri Nemiroff, Perri Nemiroff

Newton gives a fantastic psychotic edge as the Butcher trapped in a young woman’s body. Watching her give comeuppance to all the sexual harassers is wholly satisfying.
Meagan Navarro, Bloody Disgusting


Freaky

(Photo by Blumhouse Productions)

Does the movie stick the landing?

It overstays its welcome for a forced girl-power conclusion that pushes the already thin credibility of the concept past its breaking point.
Sean O’Connell, CinemaBlend

The ending is something of an anti-climax considering the build-up to it.
Simon Thompson, IGN


Will audiences have a good time?

Freaky is one of the most entertaining films of the year.
Simon Thompson, IGN

If you need ninety minutes of escapism you can’t do better than this.
Chris Bumbray, JoBlo

Freaky is the blood-soaked, heartwarming horror we need right now.
Ryan Larson, Consequence of Sound


Freaky opens in theaters on November 13, 2020.

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