Latin Horror: REVIEW: ‘FREAKY’ is a Killer Fun Time

Freaky will become a teen horror classic.Justina Bonilla

Freaky is a fun teen comedy slasher horror, combining the fun of the 90’s comedies and horror.

Kathryn Newton as Millie in ‘Freaky’ (2020)

LATIN HORROR Director Christopher Landon has made a name for himself at Blumhouse with successful horror films, such as Happy Death DayHappy Death Day 2U, and Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones. Landon co-wrote ‘Freaky with first time screenwriter Michel Kennedy, best known for co-hosting the horror Podcast Attack of the Queerwolf and for his diverse work on the Seth MacFarlane animated shows Family GuyAmerican Dad, and Bordertown (staff writer).

Freaky, set in small-town America, with Millie (Kathryn Newton), a sweet, yet awkward teen girl, who’s trying to survive the cutthroat world of Blissfield High School, with the help of her two best friends Joshua (Misha Osherovich) and Nyla (Celeste O’Connor). However, the town is plagued by the brutal killings of The Butcher (Vince Vaughn), a vicious serial killer. When The Butcher tries to make Millie his next victim, he stabs her with La Dola, an Aztec blade with mystical powers, causing them to switch bodies. Millie, now stuck in The Butcher’s body, must convince Joshua and Nyla of her true identity, so she can get back into her body, before The Butcher, now in Millie’s body, continues his bloody killing spree unsuspected.

Vince Vaughn as The Butcher in ‘Freaky’ (2020)

Freaky blends the influence of 90’s comedies and horror films with ease. The comedic aspects of the film feel similar in tone and timing to Romy and Michele’s Highschool ReunionShe’s All That, and Never Been Kissed. While the horror aspects seem to be influenced in its suspense and cringe moments from Scream, I Know What you Did Last Summer, and Candyman. With Millie being a female character who gains strength and courage as the film progresses, she is a modern interpretation of the last girl, following in the footsteps of Nancy Thompson of A Nightmare on Elm Street and Laurie Strode of Halloween.

The unique death scenes in Freaky are a breath of fresh air. Seeing how everyday objects are used in the kills, including a tennis racket and liquor bottle is clever and entertaining. It was also intriguing to see how a whole set could be used for a kill, most notably the woodshop classroom. Among the weapons used, which was the most unique and important is La Dola, which was used in human sacrifice rituals. The power of La Dola sets the film in motion, with a great visual of a Aztec pyramid, used for human sacrifice.

However, the backstory of La Dola was incomplete. Initially, La Dola is introduced in a glass case and appears to be dated as circa 1436 A.D. Later, when Joshua looks up La Dola’s information on his phone, it says online it’s from 1325 A.D. There is also the question of why Spanish would be on an Aztec dagger, as the high school’s Spanish teacher Señora Cayenes (Maria Sager) pointed out, in Spanish, “It’s strange. The dagger is Aztec, but it has a warning in Spanish”. If there is an opportunity for a Freaky 2, hopefully, more background can be given on La Dola.

While the comedic timing between Señora Cayenes and Joshua was good, Señora Cayenes’ overly cartoonish and forced Spanish accent, along with her behavior, such as stating, “Santa Madre de Dios (Holy Mother of God)”, and kissing her rosary, was a snag in the film. Freaky overall did reframe from racial stereotypes, case in point, mean girl Ryler, played by Melissa Collazo, a Latina actress. She was an excellent mean girl, with no exaggerated ethnic behavior.

Joshua (Misha Osherovich), Ryler (Melissa Collazo), Millie (Kathryn Newton), and Nyla (Celeste O’Connor) in ‘Freaky’ (2020)

A positive theme throughout Freaky was the inclusion of queer influence through its characters and subtle references. For example, the first queer influence we see is subtle, with Millie giving a kiss to a poster of Panic! at the Disco lead singer, Brandon Uire, who identifies as pansexual.

“If the stereotype is like a confident self-assured gay man, then great. Because we definitely did that on purpose”.

– Michael Kennedy

Joshua is a loud and proud queer young man, not afraid to be himself. According to Kennedy in his interview with Latin Horror, he explained how, though some felt Joshua was a queer stereotype, “If the stereotype is like a confident self-assured gay man, then great. Because we definitely did that on purpose”.

Also, when Millie is in The Butcher’s body, her friends refer to Millie with she/her pronouns and treat her as Millie despite how she looks. Because as far as they are concerned, she is their dear friend, just stuck in the wrong body.  

Nyla (Celeste O’Connor), Vince Vaughn (The Butcher), and Joshua (Misha Osherovich) in ‘Freaky’ (2020)

Both Vaughn and Newton excels in both their roles as their initial characters and as each other. With each being able to show venerability and predatorial behavior equally throughout the film. Each makes their characters entertaining and charming.

Freaky will become a teen horror classic. Without a doubt, The Butcher and ‘Murder Barbie’ Millie costumes will be been seen at future Halloween events and as a cos-play at horror conventions.

FREAKY IS NOW IN THEATERS and AVAILABLE ON VOD.

LINK: https://latinhorror.com/review-freaky2020

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