Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Christopher Landon|
|Produced by||Jason Blum|
|Music by||Bear McCreary|
|Edited by||Ben Baudhuin|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$15.2 million|
Freaky is a 2020 American supernatural slasher black comedy film directed by Christopher Landon, from a screenplay by Michael Kennedy and Landon, and starring Vince Vaughn, Kathryn Newton, Katie Finneran, Celeste O'Connor, and Alan Ruck. A twist on Freaky Friday, the film centers on a teenage girl who unintentionally switches bodies with a middle-aged male serial killer. Jason Blum serves as a producer under his Blumhouse Productions banner.
Freaky premiered at Beyond Fest on October 8, 2020, and was theatrically released in the United States on November 13, 2020, by Universal Pictures. The film received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised Vaughn and Newton's performances, as well as the blend of horror and comedy.
Four teenagers are brutally murdered by a serial killer known as the Blissfield Butcher, who then steals an ancient dagger known as La Dola. The next day, bullied high school student Millie Kessler attends the Blissfield Valley High School homecoming football game, where she performs as the school mascot. As Millie waits for a ride home near the now-empty school, the Butcher attacks her. He stabs Millie in the shoulder with La Dola, causing an identical wound to instantly appear on his shoulder. Millie's older sister Charlene, a police officer, arrives and scares off the Butcher. The police collect La Dola as evidence and initiate a manhunt for the Butcher.
The following morning, the Butcher and Millie discover that they have switched bodies, and they both make their way to Blissfield Valley High School. At school, the Butcher, now posing as Millie, kills Millie's chief tormentor Ryler by locking her in a cryotherapy tank in the girl's locker room. He realizes his innocent appearance grants him immunity from suspicion and murders woodshop teacher Mr. Bernardi, another one of Millie's tormentors, with a table saw. Millie, now in the Butcher's body, finds her best friends Nyla and Josh and proves her identity to them by performing the school mascot's dance routine and answering a series of personal questions. Nyla and Josh research La Dola and discover that Millie must stab the Butcher with the dagger by midnight or else the body switch will be permanent.
Later that afternoon, the Butcher lures Millie's crush Booker into a monster mini golf course to kill him, but Millie, Nyla, and Josh arrive just in time to save him. Millie knocks both the Butcher and Booker unconscious, and she and her friends bring the two to Josh's house. After tying the Butcher to a chair, Millie and Nyla try to explain the situation to Booker, who remains unconvinced until Millie recites a love poem she anonymously wrote to him weeks earlier. Josh watches over the Butcher while Millie, Nyla, and Booker drive to the police station to obtain La Dola. Nyla tricks Charlene, the last officer in the station, into leaving so she can steal the dagger. Waiting outside in the car, Booker reveals that he has always liked Millie, and Millie divulges how she enjoys the newfound strength and confidence she feels while in the Butcher's body, and they kiss.
The Butcher eventually escapes Josh's house, and Charlene catches Nyla stealing La Dola. Still in the car, Millie sees the Butcher enter the police station and runs in after him, but Charlene tries to detain her, unaware of the situation. Millie overpowers Charlene and locks her in a jail cell while the Butcher escapes in a police car. At the Blissfield Valley High Homecoming dance, the Butcher kills four football players after three of them attempt to rape him, thinking he is Millie, and another forcibly kisses Josh. As midnight approaches, Millie finds the Butcher and both Nyla and Josh hold him down while Booker staves off the police. Millie stabs the Butcher with La Dola and they switch back to their own bodies just as the police shoot down the Butcher. Later, Millie and Booker reunite and they kiss again.
After faking his death in an ambulance, the Butcher follows Millie home and attacks her, mocking her physical weakness and anxiety. Millie, Charlene, and their mother struggle to overpower the Butcher, but Millie finally kills him by impaling him with a broken table leg.
- Vince Vaughn as the Blissfield Butcher, an aging serial killer known as an urban legend in the town. He and Millie trade bodies due to a mystical dagger. Vaughn also portrays Millie Kessler when she is in his body.
- Kathryn Newton as Millie Kessler, a tormented high school student who unintentionally trades bodies with the Blissfield Butcher. Newton also portrays the Blissfield Butcher when he is in her body.
- Katie Finneran as Coral Kessler, Char and Millie's alcoholic widowed mother
- Dana Drori as Charlene "Char" Kessler, a police officer and Millie's older sister
- Celeste O'Connor as Nyla Chones, Millie's friend
- Misha Osherovich as Josh Detmer, Millie's other friend
- Uriah Shelton as Booker Strode, Millie's crush
- Alan Ruck as Mr. Bernardi, Millie's abusive and unsympathetic wood shop teacher
In early August 2019, it was announced that Christopher Landon would write and direct a new horror film, with Jason Blum serving as a producer under his Blumhouse Productions banner. Specific plot details were not revealed, but the story was described as following a violent figure wreaking havoc in a small town. Production was expected to begin in October in Atlanta, Georgia, and there was some speculation the film could be a reboot of Scream. However, Landon later debunked those rumors, stating that the project was to be an original story, taking inspiration from Mary Rodgers's Freaky Friday.
Later in August, it was announced that Kathryn Newton and Vince Vaughn had joined the cast of the film, with the screenplay being written by Landon and Michael Kennedy. In October 2019, Uriah Shelton, Alan Ruck, Katie Finneran, Celeste O'Connor and Misha Osherovich joined the cast of the film.
Freaky is another high-concept comedy horror film directed by Landon after Happy Death Day (2017) and Happy Death Day 2U (2019). It has been inspired by various teen slasher movies, including Scream (1996) and Cherry Falls (2000).
Freaky had its world premiere at Beyond Fest on October 8, 2020. It was theatrically released in the United States on November 13, 2020, by Universal Pictures. The studio spent an estimated $8 million promoting the film.
Box office and VOD
The film made $1.45 million from 2,472 theaters on its first day, including $200,000 from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $3.7 million, topping the box office. In its second weekend, the film made $1.8 million, remaining in first place. It made $799,770 in its third weekend (including $966,470 over the four-day American Thanksgiving weekend) and was dethroned the following weekend by newcomer The Croods: A New Age.
The film became available via video-on-demand in its fourth weekend and was the top-rented film on FandangoNow, fourth on Google Play, and sixth on Apple TV. It also made $474,610 from 1,502 theaters over that weekend.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 83% based on 214 reviews, with an average rating of 6.8/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "An entertaining slasher with a gender-bending, body-swapping twist, this horror-comedy juggles genres with Freaky fun results." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 66 out of 100 based on 37 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B–" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported 77% of audience members gave the film a positive score, with 54% saying they would definitely recommend it.
Ryan Larson, of Consequence of Sound, gave the film an "A−," saying that "with an incredible supporting cast and two engaging leads, Freaky is an out and out blast that finds Landon inching closer and closer to slasher masters like Wes Craven and John Carpenter." Peter Travers, reviewing the film for ABC News, wrote: "Not every joke or jolt hits the mark. But thanks to Landon's clever twists and go-for-broke performances from Vaughn and Newton, you'd be hard pressed to find a better way to party on the scariest date on the calendar than with this Freaky Friday the 13th."
Heather Wixon, of Daily Dead, gave the film 4.5 out of 5, saying that "Freaky is easily one of the best supernatural slashers to come along in this era of modern horror, that perfectly blends together horror, humor, and heart seamlessly." Writing for The Globe and Mail, Barry Hertz gave the film 3 out of 4 stars, and stated, "Landon is not aiming to break new ground here – only to use well-trod territory for his own gag- and gross-out-happy ends. This is candy-coloured mayhem, bright and snappy and enjoyably wince-inducing in its desire to disgust. And just as Vaughn can easily play both male murderer and winsome teen girl, so, too, can the charming Newton ace her required flips." His Name is Death editor Albert Nowicki considered the movie to be an effective slasher but also praised its "well-directed slapstick" and Vaughn's comedic performance. He believed the film celebrates its queerness and noted: "written by two openly gay men, Freaky doesn't stigmatize its characters for their otherness—moreover, the movie embraces it."
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Nominee(s)||Result||Ref.|
|Critics Choice Super Awards||January 10, 2021||Best Actor in a Horror Movie||Vince Vaughn||Won|||
|Best Actress in a Horror Movie||Kathryn Newton||Nominated|
|Best Horror Movie||Freaky||Nominated|
|Best Villain in a Movie||Kathryn Newton||Nominated|
|HNiD Awards||January 11, 2021||Best Actor||Vince Vaughn||Won|||
|Best Soundtrack||Bear McCreary||Write-in|
|Best Special Visual Effects||Bob Shelley, Oliver Taylor, André Freitas||Write-in|
|Best Villain in a Movie||Vince Vaughn||Won|
In November 2020, director Christopher Landon responded to a fan on Twitter who asked if Freaky and Happy Death Day were set in the same world, stating "They def[initely] share the same DNA and there's a good chance Millie and Tree will bump into each other someday." Producer Jason Blum has also expressed his desire for a Freaky sequel.
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