As I write this, I realise that despite some films being better than others, there has never been a truly terrible body swap movie. “Freaky,” directed by Christopher Landon (“Happy Death Day”), is a low-budget, high-concept supernatural slasher that follows the story of Millie Kessler (Kathryn Newton), a seventeen-year-old girl who spends her days struggling to survive high school and the cruelty of the popular crowd. After becoming the latest target of the town’s infamous serial killer, the Butcher, Millie finds herself magically swapped with him using his mystical dagger. With only 24 hours to switch back before the body swap becomes permanent, Millie must face the Butcher’s murderous rampage in her own body.
While the film does have some laugh-out-loud moments of comedy, such as watching Vince Vaughn’s Butcher swivel his hips like a cheerleader and flirt with Millie’s crush (Uriah Shelton), the premise does tend to run out of steam as the film progresses. Michael Kennedy’s script pays homage to the genre’s predecessors but often falls into the cliches that bogged them down.
The film’s main issue is its ill-defined characters. Millie is the school mascot and often ridiculed by her peers, yet she still looks like Kathryn Newton, making the “Hollywood ugly” label seem implausible. Her friends are also one-dimensional, with the gay and black characters reduced to little more than caricatures.
While it’s possible to argue that Kennedy was aiming for a parody of Hollywood cliches, it’s doubtful that the paper-thin characters were intentional. Despite its flaws, “Freaky” is still an entertaining supernatural slasher with a unique body swap twist.
Freaky is released in UK cinemas July 2nd.