Freaky (film)

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Freaky
Freaky (film) poster.jpeg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byChristopher Landon
Written by
  • Michael Kennedy
  • Christopher Landon
Produced byJason Blum
Starring
CinematographyLaurie Rose
Edited byBen Baudhuin
Music byBear McCreary
Production
companies
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release dates
  • October 8, 2020 (2020-10-08) (Beyond Fest)
  • November 13, 2020 (2020-11-13) (United States)
Running time
101 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$6 million[2]
Box office$16.2 million[3][4]

Freaky is a 2020 American comedy slasher 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, and internationally on July 2, 2021, by Universal Pictures. The film received positive reviews from critics, who praised Vaughn and Newton's performances, as well as the blend of horror and comedy.

Plot[edit]

Four teenagers are discussing urban legends of a serial killer known as the Blissfield Butcher. The Butcher breaks into the mansion they are in and promptly murders the group of teenagers before leaving with 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 Char, 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 fatally slices woodshop teacher Mr. Bernardi, another one of Millie's tormentors, in half 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, with the school's official homecoming cancelled, the Butcher suggests a new dance be held at an old mill that is actually his hiding place. The Butcher subsequently 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 Char, 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 Char catches Nyla stealing La Dola. Still in the car, Millie sees the Butcher enter the police station and runs in after him, but Char tries to detain her, unaware of the situation. Millie overpowers Char and locks her in a jail cell while the Butcher escapes in a police car. At the Blissfield Valley High Homecoming dance out at the Butcher's mill, the Butcher kills three jocks who attempt to rape him, thinking he is Millie, as well as a fourth who attempted to assault 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 in time, before 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, Char, and their mother struggle to overpower the Butcher, but Millie finally kills him by impaling him with a broken table leg.

Cast[edit]

  • 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 the Blissfield Butcher's 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 Millie's body.
  • Katie Finneran as Coral Kessler, Char and Millie's alcoholic widowed mother
  • Celeste O'Connor as Nyla Chones, Millie's best friend
  • Misha Osherovich as Josh Detmer, Millie's other best friend
  • Alan Ruck as Mr. Bernardi, Millie's abusive and unsympathetic wood shop teacher
  • Uriah Shelton as Booker Strode, Millie's love interest
  • Melissa Collazo as Ryler, Millie's bully
  • Dana Drori as Char Kessler, a police officer and Millie's older sister

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Screenwriter Michael Kennedy began working on the script, then-titled Killer Body, after watching the film Happy Death Day, and being impressed with the film's ability to cross Groundhog Day with a slasher film.[5] Kennedy began working with Christopher Landon shortly after presenting him an early draft of the script over lunch.[6] In early August 2019, the film was officially announced with Landon directing and 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.[7] However, Landon later debunked those rumors, stating that the project was to be an original story, taking inspiration from Mary Rodgers's Freaky Friday.[8]

Freaky is another high-concept comedy horror film directed by Landon after Happy Death Day (2017) and Happy Death Day 2U (2019).[9] It has been compared to various teen slasher movies, including Scream (1996) and Cherry Falls (2000).[9]

Casting[edit]

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.[10] In October 2019, Uriah Shelton, Alan Ruck, Katie Finneran, Celeste O'Connor and Misha Osherovich joined the cast of the film.[11][12]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography lasted for 35 days, under the original title Freaky Friday the 13th.[13] It began on October 21, 2019,[14] and was completed on December 12, 2019.[15]

Release[edit]

Freaky had its world premiere at Beyond Fest on October 8, 2020.[16] It was theatrically released in the United States on November 13, 2020, by Universal Pictures.[17] The studio spent an estimated $8 million promoting the film.[18]

The film was made available via video on demand on December 4, 2020, by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.[19] Freaky was released on HBO on July 27, 2021, and on HBO Max the following day, July 28, 2021.

Reception[edit]

Box office and VOD[edit]

Freaky grossed $9 million in the United States and Canada, and $7.2 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $16.2 million.[3][4]

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.[20][2] In its second weekend, the film made $1.8 million, remaining in first place.[21][18] 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.[22]

The film became available via video-on-demand on December 3, in its fourth weekend, and was the top-rented film on FandangoNow, fourth on Google Play, and sixth on Apple TV.[23] It also made $474,610 from 1,502 theaters over that weekend.[24]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 83% based on 241 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."[25] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 67 out of 100 based on 39 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[26] 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.[2]

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."[27] 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."[28]

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."[29] 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."[30] 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 screenwriters, Freaky doesn't stigmatize its characters for their otherness—it erects a monument to it."[31]

Accolades[edit]

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 [32]
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 [33]
Best Soundtrack Bear McCreary Write-in
Best Special Visual Effects Bob Shelley, Oliver Taylor and André Freitas Write-in
Best Villain in a Movie Vince Vaughn Won
Saturn Awards October 26, 2021 Best Horror Film Freaky Nominated [34]
MTV Movie & TV Awards May 16, 2021 Most Frightened Performance Vince Vaughn Nominated [35]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2020 Films Beyond Fest – Freaky". Beyond Fest. Archived from the original on October 5, 2020. Retrieved October 4, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 15, 2020). "Blumhouse Body Swap Horror Comedy Freaky Takes In $3.7M, On Par With Other No. 1 Pics During Fall Pandemic". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 15, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Freaky (2020)". The Numbers. Archived from the original on September 11, 2020. Retrieved April 11, 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Freaky (2020)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on November 17, 2020. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  5. ^ "What's So Freaky About Cleveland Screenwriter Michael Kennedy?". Midwest Movie Maker. November 11, 2020. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  6. ^ "Freaky Writer Michael Kennedy Tells Us How to Balance Horror and Comedy". NoFilmSchool. October 29, 2021. Retrieved February 11, 2022.
  7. ^ Fisher, Jacob (August 5, 2019). "Christopher Landon Set To Write & Direct New Horror Film For Blumhouse (EXCLUSIVE)". DiscussingFilm. Archived from the original on September 22, 2020. Retrieved September 26, 2020.
  8. ^ Cavanaugh, Patrick (August 14, 2019). "Happy Death Day Director Offers an Update on His Upcoming Blumhouse Project". ComicBook. Archived from the original on May 9, 2020. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  9. ^ a b Stevens, Tim (November 13, 2020). "'Freaky' is a horror comedy with the best of both worlds". The Spool. Archived from the original on December 25, 2020. Retrieved December 5, 2020.
  10. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (August 29, 2019). "Vince Vaughn, Kathryn Newton Topline Chris Landon Body-Swapping Blumhouse Thriller". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on November 15, 2019. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  11. ^ Galuppo, Mia (October 23, 2019). "Looking for Alaska Actor Uriah Shelton Joins Blumhouse Body Swap Movie". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on October 24, 2019. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  12. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (October 24, 2019). "Succession Star Alan Ruck, Katie Finneran & More Join Chris Landon Blumhouse Film". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on October 24, 2019. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  13. ^ "Georgia film and TV production at 36 in November, down from 43 in November 2018". AJC. November 12, 2019. Archived from the original on November 12, 2019. Retrieved November 12, 2019.
  14. ^ "Day 1 - AND SO IT BEGINS!! #bodyswap". Instagram. October 21, 2019. Archived from the original on December 24, 2021. Retrieved November 12, 2019.
  15. ^ "Day 35 - THE LAST DAY. Gonna miss all these people... 😭 #bodyswap". Instagram. December 12, 2019. Archived from the original on December 24, 2021. Retrieved December 16, 2019.
  16. ^ "Beyond Fest Brings Freaky, Archenemy, Possessor, Saint Maud and More to the Drive-In This October". Bloody Disgusting. Archived from the original on October 3, 2020. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  17. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (September 10, 2020). "Universal Sets Blumhouse Body-Swap Movie Freaky For Fall Theatrical Release". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on September 10, 2020. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  18. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 22, 2020). "Freaky Leads & Jackie Chan's Vanguard Tries To Throw A Punch During A Truly Depressed Box Office Weekend". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  19. ^ Squires, John (November 23, 2020). "Slasher Comedy 'Freaky' Officially Dated for At-Home On Demand Release on December 4th!". Bloody Disgusting. Archived from the original on December 25, 2020. Retrieved November 23, 2020.
  20. ^ McClintock, Pamela (November 15, 2020). "Box Office: Freaky Battles COVID-19 Surge With $3.7M Opening". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved November 15, 2020.
  21. ^ McNary, Dave (November 22, 2020). "Freaky Repeats as Winner of Quiet U.S. Box Office With $1.2 Million". Variety. Archived from the original on December 25, 2020. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  22. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 29, 2020). "'The Croods: A New Age' Opens To $14M+ 5-Day Domestic, $35M+ WW During Pandemic Thanksgiving Stretch – Update". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on December 25, 2020. Retrieved November 29, 2020.
  23. ^ Brueggemann, Tom (December 7, 2020). "'Freaky' Debuts Well in Holiday Home Viewing, but 'Mank' Falls Short on Netflix". IndieWire. Archived from the original on December 8, 2020. Retrieved December 7, 2020.
  24. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 6, 2020). "Universal Continues To Dominate Paltry Pandemic Post-Thanksgiving B.O. As Town Reels From Warner-HBO Max Windows Bombshell". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on December 6, 2020. Retrieved December 7, 2020.
  25. ^ "Freaky (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Archived from the original on November 13, 2020. Retrieved October 10, 2021.
  26. ^ "Freaky Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on November 13, 2020. Retrieved July 9, 2021.
  27. ^ Larson, Ryan (October 10, 2020). "Freaky Expertly Balances Horror and Humor for a Hell of a Good Time: Beyond Fest Review". Consequence of Sound. Archived from the original on October 31, 2020. Retrieved October 30, 2020.
  28. ^ Travers, Peter (November 13, 2020). "'Freaky' review: Spend Friday the 13th laughing at the Vince Vaughn film". ABC News. Archived from the original on December 25, 2020. Retrieved November 23, 2020.
  29. ^ Wixon, Heather (October 14, 2020). "Beyond Fest 2020 Review: Freaky Slays as an Ingenious and Endearing Supernatural Slasher Comedy". Daily Dead. Archived from the original on November 2, 2020. Retrieved October 30, 2020.
  30. ^ Hertz, Barry (November 11, 2020). "Vince Vaughn's Freaky is the serial-killer body-swap comedy you never knew you needed". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on November 11, 2020. Retrieved November 11, 2020.
  31. ^ Nowicki, Albert (December 5, 2020). "'I am a f*cking piece ('Piękna i rzeźnik', 2020)". His Name is Death (in Polish). Retrieved December 5, 2020. {{cite web}}: |archive-url= requires |archive-date= (help)
  32. ^ "Critics Choice Super Awards". Critics Choice Awards. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  33. ^ Nowicki, Albert (January 11, 2021). "Druga edycja nagród HNiD". His Name is Death (in Polish). Retrieved January 11, 2021.
  34. ^ Hipes, Patrick (March 4, 2021). "Saturn Awards Nominations: Star Wars: Rise Of Skywalker, Tenet, Walking Dead, Outlander Lead List". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  35. ^ "Your 2021 MTV Movie & TV Awards Nominations Are Here: See the Full List". MTV. April 20, 2021. Retrieved April 19, 2021.

External links[edit]