Movie Review - Freaky (2020)

by Emily


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https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10919380/

Country: United States 

Language: English

Type of story: Body Swap

Is the protagonist Transgender? No.

Sexuality: Doesn’t change

Nudity: No

How I watched it: I rented it on Amazon Prime for $3.79. (Watch Here) At the moment this article was written, it was free on Peacock, Sling, DirecTV, and SyFy.

When I last watched it: May 31, 2024


I ran a poll on my Discord server for what movie to review next - and they picked yet another horror movie. At least this one is a parody. Not Scary Movie level of comedy, but the fusion of two unrelated genres that will be guaranteed to at least give you a chuckle. This was the second time I watched this movie. The first was while I was writing Masquerades 101, because I wanted to put Easter eggs of other body swap movies in there. I actually found this movie better on rewatch.


You’ve seen Freaky Friday. Well, what if instead of Mom, the teenage girl swapped with an adult male serial killer instead? That’s exactly what happens in this parody movie mashup of Freaky Friday and Scream (or any of the movies Scream satirized, like Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th). A follower on Bluesky suggested this movie should’ve been called Freaky Friday the 13th. I agree, It's a shame it wasn’t.


My synopsis (spoiler-free): Millie (Kathryn Newton) is your standard teen-slasher-movie protagonist. She had some family drama and is now a social outcast. The Blissfield Butcher (Vince Vaughn) is the town's notorious urban legend - and he has escaped custody - just in time for Homecoming. During the movie’s opening scene killing spree, the Butcher gets ahold of the ancient mystical dagger known as La Dola, and after the school’s Homecoming game, attacks Millie with said dagger. Millie survives the attack, but the magic ritual had unknowingly taken place. At midnight on Friday the 13th, Millie and the Butcher swap bodies. Hilarity (and killing) ensue.


* * Spoilers ahead * *


Do I even need a spoilers section? If you’ve seen Freaky Friday or Scream, and have read all of my previous reviews on body swap movies, you pretty much know what’s going to happen throughout the rest of the movie.


The Butcher in Millie’s body starts going on a (very satisfying) murder spree, killing all of Millie’s bullies. Cool. Sounds like Millie and the Butcher could be best buds - if he didn’t want to kill her too! Meanwhile, Millie in the Butcher’s body is… well… it’s Vince Vaughn acting like a teenage girl. But actually… he’s just acting like every other character he’s ever played. Anyway, Millie needs allies so she has to recruit her friends. Her friends consist of Nyla (Celeste O'Connor) and Josh (Misha Osherovich). 


The Transformation: At 11:59 p.m., Millie is asleep, there are storm clouds and chants and thunder and visions of masks and at precisely midnight - they swap. When the sun is up, it is the Butcher who wakes first - in Millie’s body. He is very confused waking up in pajamas inside the very floral-patterned bedroom of a teenage girl. Millie’s mom barges in, and the Butcher spits out the dental retainer from his mouth - clever! He doesn’t say anything, he’s just acting creepy. Mom leaves, then he goes for the mirror. And here it comes… wait for it… boob grab!


Next, Millie wakes up in the Butcher’s lair, which happens to be an abandoned building. She notices her voice first. Then her surroundings. Then she finds a mirror. (A mirror that just happens to be not broken and in this abandoned building.) And here it comes. She screams! I wonder how many takes Vince Vaughn needed to perfect that effeminate scream.


Does this movie pass the Bechdel Test? It actually does. We definitely have two females talking to each other and not mentioning a guy. I mean sometimes they talk about Millie’s dead dad and the serial killer, but this movie benefits from having a rather large female cast. It’s a low bar, folks, which is why it's worse if a movie can’t pass it.


Gender & Sexuality: Of all of the body swap movies I’ve reviewed thus far, this one actually tries to tackle sexuality. We’ll start with the Butcher. He might as well be asexual because all he cares about is killing people. Sure, he may flirt with a few boys. But that’s because he wants to kill them. He’s an equal opportunity serial killer. He’s like an animal looking for his next meal. That’s fair for a serial killer. What’s fun, however, is Millie. She has to eventually interact with her crush, but she’s in the Butcher’s body. There’s a scene where Millie and Booker (Uriah Shelton) are in the car alone. Millie had just shared some poetry with him. And they’re flirting. And bless Booker. He’s still flirting with Millie despite her looking like a homeless Vince Vaughn. And they kiss! Holy shit, call the press! This movie had the cajones to actually do a male-on-male kiss.


As for gender, I got the impression neither was trans, but the Butcher was cool staying in Millie’s body forever. Its femininity was a source of power for him. Enough power to… kill more people. The Butcher really only has a one-track mind. Which is cool. Everyone needs to find passion in their life.


They adapt: Only the Butcher adapts. Millie stays looking like a homeless serial killer. The Butcher finds some sexy outfits at home and then slays. Wait…not that slay. Nevermind. Yes, that slay too. Femme fatale.


The swap back: Like all other “Freaky” body swap movies, the swap takes place over 24 hours, and they must reverse the swap or stay that way forever. Since this movie is a horror flick, the movie could’ve gone Suitable Flesh’s route and have them not swap back. In fact, they teased it. Before Millie could perform the swap-back ritual, the midnight timer on Booker’s watch goes off. Too late! Except, Booker had admitted to Millie earlier in the movie that he sets his watch five minutes ahead, to avoid being late. Cool, we’re not too late then. Stab! And then the two return to their bodies. 


How it ends: You’d think it ended after Millie stabbed the Butcher with La Dola. She gets to kiss her crush. Happy ending, right? But sometimes scary movies have fake-outs. Here’s the Freaky fake-out. The Butcher doesn’t die. He escapes the ambulance ride and goes after Millie and her family.


One of my alpha readers encouraged me to go back and rewatch the ending. They’re right - this is where it gets a little more interesting. This part of the movie feels different. All of the laughs are over, the serial killer is back in his own body, and you no longer see Vince Vaughn, the comedian. He’s much scarier here. He’s stronger and easily overpowers everyone. You get the feeling the serial killer may actually kill all of the protagonists. He monologues to Millie. He asks her why she’s not happy that she got her body back. Is he talking to her or is he talking to himself? 


Then Millie tries to stab him. 


“Don’t stop. Keep coming,” he taunts her. Then he tells her he knows what it feels like to be in that body. “The weakness. The anxiety. Taking orders from the alcoholic mom. But it’s OK, we’ll fix it.” Is he talking to Millie or himself? Or rather is he telling her that they aren’t much different. That perhaps he had similar trauma. When she finally overcomes him and drives a stake through his heart, she has a glint in her eye and a slight smile. Did she just enjoy that? Was he right? She stands over the Butcher’s dead body and proclaims “I am a fucking piece.”


Random Notes:

  • So the Homecoming football game is on Thursday the 12th, and the Homecoming dance is Friday the 13th?

  • The opening scene felt like it was pulled right out of a Scream movie. Two teenage heterosexual couples are telling horror stories about the Blissfield Butcher. And naturally they split up and get picked off one by one. You know this is going to be a good movie when each method of murder is more ridiculous than the previous. A broken wine bottle down his throat, getting her head pulverized with a toilet seat lid, a tennis racket through the temples, and getting impaled on a spear. You know, normal murder weapons.

  • Hello, Sydney - I mean Millie. Millie has recently lost her dad. Her mom is a drunk. Her sister is a police woman. She dresses frumpy and is a social outcast. She has a crush that she hasn’t opened up to. We’re just missing the television reporter.

  • Oh, it’s Homecoming? But of course it is.

  • Wow - is that shop teacher (Alan Ruck) a dick or what? Ruck usually plays the shy quiet type. Not here. He’s an absolute asshole. You find yourself rooting for the serial killer in these scenes. Which is why you cheered when the Butcher sawed him in half lengthwise with a table saw.

  • “What murders? These happen every year. This is America. We don’t cancel football games. We don't cancel Homecoming.”

  • Millie is the school mascot? A giant beaver? Why the hell not?

  • Millie knows mom is an alcoholic right? She knows she’s not a responsible human being, right? Then why after everyone says “Millie, I’ll drive you home,” she doesn’t take anyone up on that offer? Well surprise, surprise, she’s all alone waiting for her mom and the Butcher shows up. And he’s got an appetite for… beaver. Or maybe he’s into furries. I’m undecided.

  • The moment Millie wakes up in the Butcher’s body the movie changes from horror to comedy. Vince Vaughn runs around town, out in the open, acting like a girl while every townsperson is like, “Holy shit, it’s the serial killer!”

  • I love the scene where the Butcher enters the school. Slow motion walk as we see that he dressed sexy - in a red pleather jacket and ponytail. There’s a whole pep rally in front of the school as he walks in! How did the Butcher know how to do Millie’s makeup? 

  • I loved watching the Butcher kill Millie’s bullies. First up is Ryler (Melissa Collazo). He throws her in a cryo unit and freezes her T-1000 style. Then she falls to the floor and shatters, T-1000 style. 

  • Millie has to convince her friends who she is. I loved this segment too. They don’t believe her and we’re treated to a couple of minutes of the three friends beating the shit out of each other. In fact, there were times I thought Millie actually killed them. The only thing that convinced them was a cheer routine. How in the world does anyone keep a straight face watching Vince Vaughn do a “Go Beavers” cheer?

  • Hello, Millie. What’s your favorite scary movie? Pitch Perfect 2.

  • “Standing and peeing is rad.” - Millie.

  • There’s a trope in movies when the protagonists seek out an expert in ancient artifacts who can also translate obscure languages. Here we have… not the actual La Dola,but a wiki entry on it. And it’s in… Spanish. And the Spanish teacher, Señora Cayenes (Maria Sager) is pretending this is a serious request and that she has the actual La Dola in her hand and is making the discovery of a lifetime. She hams up the drama. “Sí!”

  • Señora Cayenes: (speaks Spanish). Josh looks at her dumbfounded. “No comprendo.” “Señor Detmer, you are in my class.”

  • Millie is now hiding in a changing room in her mom’s retail store and who is at the door? Her mom! And who starts flirting with her? Mom.

  • “How do killers do this?” Millie after putting on a rubber Aaron Rodgers mask and stumbling around. Great job. No one is going to notice a 6’5” male wearing a rubber mask of a popular football player.

  • They FINALLY canceled Homecoming. It only took four dead students and one attacked student. This was before another girl was frozen and the shop teacher was sawed in half.

  • And yet, the Butcher convinces the student body to have Homecoming at the old abandoned mill. Didn’t they do that in Footloose?

  • The friends are wondering what to do about the Butcher and they keep butchering his pronouns. Finally Nyla calls them out on it. “Pronouns!” she corrects them. I love it!

  • “Mom. This is going to come as a shock… but I’m straight” - Millie’s token gay friend Josh trying to explain why he had Millie (the Butcher) gagged and tied to a chair. “We’re role playing!”

  • The Booker and Millie scene in the back of the car. You could almost see Shelton about to break character and crack up laughing. He had to keep from laughing as he and Vaughn flirted with each other and they eventually kissed.

  • The Butcher ups his kill count by killing three members of the football team. One of them with a chainsaw!

  • Fake-out ending. So you thought the cops killed the Butcher? They must’ve come from the Storm-Trooper police academy. He’s taken away by an ambulance. You hear the heart monitor flat-line, but that’s a fake-out too because you see it dangling and not on his finger. So he’s fine, everyone!.

  • As many movie serial killers do, they tend to have grudges, so naturally the Butcher is going to use his new-found freedom to confront and kill Millie. Millie gets the last laugh, however. During her time in his body, he learned a very valuable lesson about male anatomy - getting kicked in the nuts hurts.

  • So - who gets charged for killing the five students and one teacher while the Butcher was in Millie’s body?


Overall impression: This was a fun movie. What I liked about it, was that it was very self-aware. It knew it was a parody and leaned into that hard. If you had watched any cheesy slasher movie since Scream, you’ll laugh at how the tropes are dialed up to 10 on the absurdity scale. I literally laughed out loud a few times. Sure, it wasn’t that deep. We really don’t know anything about the Butcher and his motivations. Or do we? He’s a homage to all the Jasons and Freddys that are hell-bent on killing teenagers for no reason. Backstory? Who needs a backstory when you have a mask and plot armor?


It’s a fun movie. Make some popcorn and turn the lights off. Then watch it with some friends. You won’t be disappointed.



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Emily

Hi, I'm Emily and I'm writing Gender Transformation Fiction! This site is a place for me to keep all of my stories in one place. I'm also a software developer in the daytime, so this site will also be a proving ground of cool new features that pop into my head. Feel free to message me on Twitter or at my Discord Server! You can also find me on TGStorytime.com and FictionMania.tv.

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Elron

  • Is there some body swap movie rule that forbids the girl body from having boobs larger than a b-cup? Name one swap movie where the girl had anything larger. I think it would have been funny if they had been bigger and getting in the way of the Butcher when killing people. “Damn, these things keep getting in the way!” And of course the Butcher could have used them to draw in more victims. 

  • Early in the movie we see Millie at school and some random guy makes a remark about her needing a bag over her head before he would have sex with her. I think Millie is very attractive even before the Butcher amps her up.

  • Josh seems to have some of the funniest lines and scenes in the movie:

    • “I love your black weiner, Mr. Daniels.”

    • “Great. We're gonna be killed by Murder Barbie.”

    • “You’re black. I’m gay. We are so dead!”

  • Misha Osherovich was even nominated for a Queerty award for his performance by the Queerties.

  • Freaky was nominated for 19 awards by various film organizations with Vaughn winning Best Actor in a Horror Movie by the Critics Choice Super Awards.

  • I loved the expressions on the Butcher’s face when he was tied to the chair and Josh was explaining why.

  • Everyone seems to recognize the Butcher, even though pretty much everyone who encounters him gets murdered. There shouldn’t be any witnesses. Not to mention, he also wears a hockey mask when killing.

  • Vaughn is able to walk into any door in the school unhindered - no security, no locked doors anywhere. Not exactly how schools operate in 2020.

  • According to the urban legend, the Blissfield Butcher has been around since 1977. Considering Vaughn was born in 1970, that means he started killing when he was seven.

  • Just like in Back to the Future, we are forced to rely on the town clock tower for critical event timing.

  • It’s hard to believe:

    • that the police are gonna open fire on an unarmed man just because some kid yells, “Shoot that motherfucker!”

    • Millie’s sister, the cop, doesn’t check her gun before attempting to shoot the Butcher, only to find out her gun is no longer loaded.

    • then spends all her time completely reloading her gun when one bullet would have been enough to stop or even kill the Butcher.

    • that with an escaped serial killer on the loose, the whole town isn’t under lockdown, school and of course all extra-curricular activities like football and Homecoming are canceled.

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marter

I don't understand her line about being a piece. Was that a reference to something earlier in the movie?
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Emily

In the beginning of the movie, Nyla and Josh are trying to convince Millie to ask out Booker. Millie says he doesn't know she exists, Josh dismisses that saying, "You're a fucking piece, girl" and Millie is like "Oh, I'm a piece?" "Uh-huh" The Nyla jumps in with "Okay, barf choice of words or not, Joshua's right."
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Elron

Is being a "piece" part of the yute lingo now?
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Emily

I couldn't tell you. Maybe Urban Dictionary can (https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=piece). OK, It's slang is short for "piece of ass" or "hot sexy lady"
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marter

Ah ok. Ty!
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