Once again director Christopher Landon proves his mark in the realm of teen slasher horror. Whilst Happy Death Day had its faults, Landon struck a vibe with the new generation of horror fans by taking a classic comedy film ala Groundhog Day and adding a slasher twist. The success proved such a success in collaboration with Blumhouse, a production company that have excelled in recent years tapping into the horror genre with great success, that would go on to produce an equally profitable sequel. Proving that the formula works to reinvent family-friendly comedies of yester-year, Landon hits his stride with the twist on body swap sub-genre and the Freaky Friday film, this time around seeing teen protagonist Millie Kessler (Kathryn Newton – Supernatural) switching bodies with a serial killer, The Blissfield Butcher (a surprisingly good Vince Vaughn).
Landon’s language on screen has also come into his own as he projects great energy with his admittedly one-dimensional characters, (if there is one criticism to be held, it’s definitely here) but it’s the way Landon plays with these characters within his realm with the number one aim to have fun with it. I can not stress how much Freaky owns the comedy element, knocking around familiar concepts in the genre with some cracking nods along the way, notably Halloween and Friday the 13th franchises respectively and sure fire proof that Landon knows his craft.
What surprised me about this film was how the ‘camp’ elements played in favour of its narrative, which so easily could have bent in the wrong direction, tipping into painful territory, but manages to keep that balance in check. This also allows for some decent heartfelt moments especially for Vaughn to chew his teeth into and adding some nice beats in the more quiet moments in the film.
There are also some cracking gore moments to keep the horror enthusiasts thirst for on-screen blood satiated. It may not go dark enough to some, but to do so would be detrimental to the humour component that Landon was striving for.
This is a fun, enjoyable ride that does exactly what it says on the tin.
Landon excels in this environment, playing with the genre concepts with glee and producing a cracker movie filled with great energy and plenty of gore whilst keeping his finger on the pulse.
- Saul Muerte