• Freaky (Universal Pictures) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Universal Pictures
    Released on: February 9th, 2021.
    Director: Christopher Landon
    Cast: Vince Vaughn, Kathryn Newton, Katie Finneran, Celeste O'Connor, Alan Ruck
    Year: 2020
    Purchase From Amazon

    Freaky – Movie Review:

    Directed by Christopher Landon, who co-wrote the script with Michael Kennedy, 2020's Freaky begins on Wednesday The 11th and takes place in the town of Blissfield, a small town that just so happens to be the home of one Millie Kessler (Kathryn Newton), a high school student who still mourns the loss of her father and struggles to fit in. Blissfield also happens to be the home of The Butcher, a madman who once killed off a bunch of students at Blissfield High’s homecoming dance. And wouldn’t you know it, that dance is just around the corner. Most of the current residents of Blissfield chalk all of the talk about a murderous lunatic up to just that, talk, but when a few students wind up dead, it soon becomes clear that these stories have basis in reality after all.

    When Millie winds up cornered by the killer (Vince Vaughn), he stabs her with a ritualistic dagger and they wind up swapping bodies. He awakes as a teenage girl and behaves as such, while Butcher-possessed Millie takes on a sexy new look and sets out to continue the killing spree. With only twenty-four hours to set things right, lest these changes become permanent, Millie-possessed Butcher teams up with best friends Nyla (Celeste O'Connor) and Josh (Misha Osherovich) to try and stop any more murders from taking place and to figure out how to solve this problem for good.

    While Freaky might not be a particularly deep film, overall it is pretty funny. Vaughn is a lot of fun to watch here, hulking and intimidating as The Butcher and then often quite hysterical once he’s in ‘teenage girl’ mode. It’s an interesting role for him and he makes the most of it. Likewise, Kathryn Newton does a nice job as well, switching from goofball high school student to conniving killer pretty effectively and doing a fine job with the material. Supporting work from O’connor and Osherovich is also pretty decent and occasionally quite humorous.

    With a few obvious nods to slasher films like Friday The 13th, the movie plays things with tongue firmly in cheek, we’re never asked to take any of this all too seriously and the picture is better for it. The kill scenes have been done using almost entirely practical effects work, and again, the picture is better for it. There’s some good splatter on display in this picture, handily earning the film its R-rating. The effect work is impressive. Technical merits are strong across the board. The movie could have been ten to fifteen minutes shorter and not suffered for it, but overall the pacing here is pretty decent. The score is solid and the cinematography quite good, nicely polished and able to effectively capture all of the on-screen mayhem and simultaneously build some decent tension.

    Freaky – Blu-ray Review:

    Death Of Me arrives on Blu-ray from Lionsgate on a 50GB region free disc with the feature taking up 31.7GBs of space on the disc and framed at 2.39.1 widescreen. Shot digitally, there’s obviously no print damage or grain to discuss, the image is pristine. Colors are reproduced very nicely, black levels are strong and there’s pretty decent texture here as well. Detail is generally impressive, and the transfer is free of any noticeable compression artifacts or edge enhancement problems.

    Audio for the feature is handled by an English language 24-bit DTS-HD 5.1 track, with optional subtitles offered in English SDH, French and Spanish. Audio quality is really solid, with the track helping to accentuate the tension in the film’s final act by using some clever effects and dialogue placement. The score sounds good too, there’s occasionally some pretty impressive depth here. French and Spanish language DTS 5.1 Surround Sound options are also provided.

    Extras start off with a commentary with Co-writer/Director Christopher Landon. Given how involved he was with pretty much every aspect of the feature, he’s got a lot to say here. As the talk moves forward he covers working on the script, who he collaborated with in pre-production, getting the movie into the production status, what it was like on set, working with the cast and crew and lots more. It’s thorough and pretty interesting, often times getting quite detailed.

    In addition to five-minutes of deleted scenes, you’ll also find a few short featurettes in the extras section. The two-minute Split Personalities: Millie vs. The Butcher is a quick look at the two lead characters and the actors that portrayed them. Crafting The Kills spends just under four-minutes going over the practical effects that were conjured up for some of the film’s gorier and more memorable moments. Christopher Landon's Brand Of Horror is a quick two-minute piece where the director’s collaborators sing his praises and, last but not least, the three-minute Final Girl Reframed featurette takes a look at how the film’s ending subverts a lot of slasher tropes in an attempt to do something a bit different with its big finish.

    The Blu-ray comes bundled with a DVD version of the movie as well as an insert card that can be redeemed for a digital HD version of the movie. A slipcover is also included.

    Freaky - The Final Word:

    If it isn’t a modern classic, Freaky is at least a pretty entertaining horror comedy and some decent murder set pieces. Universal’s Blu-ray release looks and sounds very good and while the featurettes are mostly fluff pieces, the commentary is good. All in all, this is a fun watch.

    Click on the images below for full sized Freaky Blu-ray screen caps!