[Beyond Fest Review] FREAKY
Courtesy of Blumhouse and Universal Pictures

Never would I have guessed I’d get such a kick out of large men pretending to be teenage girls, but then there was Jumanji: Welcome to the JungleJumanji: The Next Level, and now, FREAKYFREAKY follows Millie, who begins the movie played by Kathryn Newton, but quickly finds herself in the body of Vince Vaughn, AKA, the Blissfield Butcher. There’s your quick intro in case, unlike me, you haven’t been using every morsel of horror news to keep you distracted from this current 2020 hellscape. [Writer’s note: VOTE!]

When a girl in the opening sequence shouted, “Aggro knocking won’t make me go any faster,” I knew I could settle in for a fun ride. It quickly dissolved into a barrage of some seriously bizarre death scenes, including perhaps my worst nightmare? Dying in a public restroom is a horror trope I just don’t even want to imagine – The embarrassment! The uncleanliness! – and even less so when it involves being literally beaten to death with a toilet seat.

Snaps for Christopher Landon and Michael Kennedy, because I know how good the fight/death scenes in this movie really were based on the amount of odd sounds of suspense and disgust coming from me as I watched them.

Now back to Millie. who is your typical straight edge final girl – hot, funny, and capable, yet finds herself undateable and the school pariah. This is only exacerbated by the fact that she chooses to perform as the school’s mascot. Why do they always do shit like that?

She has a hard time in school, receiving a curious amount of negative attention from her shop teacher, who seems to mercilessly hate the quiet girl for no discernible reason. The teacher, by the way, is played by Alan Ruck, who famously brought the affable yet incredibly anxious Cameron to life in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Or, as I so elegantly wrote in my notes, “That’s Cameron, From Ferris!”

If you couldn’t tell from the creative death scenes, the humor of this movie is very quirky and very Millennial. At one point, the characters go to what looked to be a spooky, neon, indoor mini-golf haunted house, and I am embarrassed by the amount of excitement that odd collection of words stirred inside of me.

Also have to say, I so appreciate a horror that updates my hip slang, like the beautiful pep talk, “It’s doable. Adjacent,” and the almost too spicy rebuke, “I didn’t come here to clam jam with you.” Then again, I’d have to say 20 points from Ravenclaw for having this modern teen slip a love poem into someone’s locker.

Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton in FREAKY

Millie was every murderino as she sat in the dark, at a bus stop, at the edge of the empty football field, whispering to herself, “Please don’t be the butcher. Please don’t be the butcher,” when a large shadow appeared. Unfortunately for her, this chant does not work and the butcher does, in fact, stab our protagonist with the all-important ancient mystical dagger. Don’t worry, that’s not a spoiler. It’s literally in the trailer.

And that’s because this blade initiates the spooky Freaky Friday switcheroo that prompts Vaughn, playing teenage girl Millie, to flap his dick around and wonder out loud, “Do I wipe?” This butcher with a teenage mind wears a “scary Aaron Rodgers” mask rather than the earlier seen, more classical horror mask, which looked a bit like if Jason Voorhees covered his hockey mask in patches and then melted it in a microwave.

Explain to me why Aaron Rodgers was the funniest person they could have chosen for this, because I couldn’t tell you why, but he truly was.

Spurning the societal pressure of teen flicks everywhere, Millie – now inhabited by the Blissfield Butcher – actually becomes hotter after putting her hair up in a ponytail. I won’t spoil any more of this sexy teen romp for you, but know that the real Millie has less than 24 hours – ending on Friday the 13th – to switch back or be stuck in the old man body forever. Will she and her motley crew fix it in time?

This Freaky Friday take is Scream meets Mean Girls, and every now and then you get a good jump scare in there, too. They totally pull an It Follows at one point, if this meek attempt at a written wink makes any sense to anyone. Ridiculous teen horror is one of my favorite sub-genres, and FREAKY is a more than worthy effort in these, darkest of times.

Bonus: Getting to listen to Newton absolutely eviscerate a smarmy jock with just a whisper on his inability to encourage even the tiniest of WAP.

FREAKY comes out November 13, so now you have something fun to do on your next [quarantined] Friday the 13th. I know I’ll be watching it again.

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