HBO Go review: Vince Vaughn kills it as a 'teen girl' in 'Freaky'

Fred Hawson

Posted at Sep 26 2021 09:10 AM

Vince Vaughn in 'Freaky'
Vince Vaughn in 'Freaky'

The night before homecoming night, mousy high school student Millie Kessler was attacked by the Butcher on the football field after the game. But when the Butcher stabbed her with his mystical ceremonial dagger, a flash of lightning caused him and Millie to magically switch bodies at the strike of midnight. Based on the inscriptions on the dagger, she only has 24 hours to get her body back, or else she will be in Butcher's body forever.

The title "Freaky" was a nod to "Freaky Friday," a 1972 children's book by Mary Rodgers which had already been previously adapted into a number of films. The most notable ones would be in 1976, with Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster; and then again in 2003, with Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan. In the book and in these movies, it was a mother and her daughter who mystically switched bodies after a major disagreement between them. 

This new version was produced by Jason Blum of Blumhouse, so it is no surprise that it is in the horror genre -- in the slasher subgenre to be specific. The director Christopher Landon had just recently directed two other successful slasher-comedies for Blum -- "Happy Death Day" (2017) and its sequel (2019), so he was right in the zone for this project as well. The kills in this film were quite ghastly, especially the very first one with the wine bottle. The opposite personality- and gender-switching in this version lent itself to even more comic situations.

It was quite a stretch to accept the very pretty Kathryn Newton to be shy nerdy Millie, the unfortunate girl inside the beaver mascot of their school. She was quite in the zone after the body switching, and went to school as foxy Millie dressed in skin-tight jeans and a sexy red leather jacket. Of course, you'd wonder how the Butcher knew anything about makeup and fashion. Newton was totally fierce in those gory scenes where "Millie" turned the tables on her bully classmates and carpentry teacher.

The most entertaining aspect of this film was the stellar performance of Vince Vaughn as Millie inside the body of Butcher. He was very meticulous in his transformation into a teenage girl -- her girly gestures, mannerisms, speaking inflection, style of running, screaming. Everything was so on point, it was quite a blast and a total joy to see. The scene where he was convincing Millie's best friends, Nyla (Celeste O'Connor) and Josh (Misha Osherovich), and that one with Millie's big crush Booker (Uriah Shelton) were a lot of fun. 

This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."