A Freaky Turn of Events for Friday the 13th

Kathryn Newton takes on the role of Millie Kessler side by side with Vince Vaughn, who plays a serial killer called the “Blissfield Butcher” in this comedy slasher retelling of the Freaky Friday franchise.

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

Kathryn Newton takes on the role of Millie Kessler side by side with Vince Vaughn, who plays a serial killer called the “Blissfield Butcher” in this comedy slasher retelling of the Freaky Friday franchise.

Luiza Decenzi, Editor-in-Chief


From the director of Happy Death Day and writer of Paranormal Activity 2, 3 and 4, a new movie titled “Freaky” theatrically released on Friday the 13th. The film, originally released at Beyond Fest on October 8th, was received with relatively high critic reviews, acquiring an 85% score on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Conceptually, the comedy slasher movie is quite attention grabbing. It blends the classic cliches of the Freaky Friday franchise and other body switching movies with parody-style comedy on classic teen horror movies. What could possibly go wrong?

The film centers around seventeen year old Millie Kessler, played by Kathryn Newton who switches bodies with the “Blissfield Butcher,” a serial killer striking back at the town twenty years after his killing spree. The body switching occurs as the Blissfield Butcher attacks Millie, wielding a magical dagger that harms both of them as he strikes her shoulders. After falling asleep hours later, they switch bodies at midnight on Friday the 13th, and Millie must find a way to reverse the switch and stop the Blissfield Butcher from killing others while in her body. 

The mere premise of the film foreshadows an irreverent plot that capitalizes on common tropes and stereotypes. In my opinion, however, the advertising does not completely fit the atmosphere of the complete movie. 

Stereotyping in comedy horror movies is often a given expectation. They tend to maneuver their script as a criticism on societal behavior, norms, and ideas. In this scenario, each time the character embodies these generalized attributes, or at least in the major scheme of the plot, the societal commentary must have a perceptible significance. However, this argument fails to properly come across in Freaky. The stereotypes don’t seem to show any greater message other than the fact that they are horror movie banality.

The only aspect of the movie that truly offered relatively original commentary is the outlandish tale behind the “body switching” framework. At the very least, it grasps the feel of 2000’s teen movies and ridicules the mythicality of these fantasy plots. Of course, all that was necessary of the characters was to search the name of the dagger online, which Millie conveniently heard in her sleep, and translate the legend from Spanish to English. Although the stereotypical Spanish teacher role in this plot wasn’t one of my favorite parts of the film, it definitely conveyed how easy it often is in these types of movies to save the main character.

On the topic of body switching movies, it’s difficult not to think of the rather bizarreness of a seventeen year old girl switching bodies with a roughly forty year old serial killer. On one hand, the uncomfortable nature of this plot is one of the main commentaries and source of comedy in Freaky. For some, the joke may land. However, it’s slightly difficult to get over the inappropriate behavior of both characters in a different body and the morality of their actions, regardless of whether or not that is the point of the scene. 

Ultimately, I find that the main issue with this movie is the comedy. In order to direct a good horror parody, the humor must set the mood. This is what excuses the fact that the horror aspect of the movie is delivered in terms of gore and a few jump scares rather than from it being genuinely scary. However, most of the jokes were awkward and uncomfortable. In the grand scheme of things, there were simply too many failed attempts or missed opportunities to lighten the mood.

In full disclosure, my opinion regarding this movie may be slightly pessimistic due to my previous expectations of this movie. Not only is the director, Christopher Landon, highly acclaimed in similar genres, but it was also produced by Jason Blum, a renowned producer involved in the making of The Purge, Split, Ouija, Us, Halloween, Paranormal Activity, The Invisible Man, Get Out, and many others. 

With such a precedence of horrors and thrillers, it is difficult not to have high expectations for Freaky. The unfortunate reality is that regardless of the acting skills of Kathryn Newman and Vince Vaughn, this film simply does not hold up its own.