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Review: Vince Vaughn gets 'Freaky' in teen slasher body swap comedy

Playing a teenage girl, Vaughn has his best role in years in Christopher Landon's remixed genre flip

Adam Graham
Detroit News Film Critic

Vince Vaughn plays a serial killer as well as a teenage girl in "Freaky," a clever mashup between a body swap comedy and a teen slasher flick. 

Vaughn is Barney Garris, a notorious killer in the idyllic small town of Blissfield. Known as the Blissfield Butcher, he stalks teens and disposes of them in all manner of creative ways, even using a tennis racket as an instrument of death. (Aces!) 

Vince Vaughn in "Freaky."

Kathryn Newton ("Blockers," "Pokémon Detective Pikachu") is Millie, a well-meaning outcast and the team mascot for her high school football team, the Blissfield Biting Beavers. When Barney attacks Millie and tries stabbing her with a mythical knife, they magically swap bodies, like "Freaky Friday" by way of "Friday the 13th." 

The fun here comes from watching the gangly Vaughn, all 6'5" of him, play a bubbly high school blonde, OMGs and all. Once he's able to convince Millie's friends (Celeste O'Connor and Misha Osherovich) that he is her, the three of them are on a mission to find Millie so they can swap bodies back. But not before first confessing her crush on her classmate Booker (Uriah Shelton), and we get a hilarious scene between Vaughn-as-Millie and the object of her obsession where feelings are spilled in the backseat of a car.

Writer-director Christopher Landon, who previously played mad chemist with teen horror conventions in the delightful "Happy Death Day" and its sequel, gets a lot of mileage out of paying homage to slasher films past, from "Halloween" to "I Know What You Did Last Summer." 

Things lag in the flabby midsection and a tacked-on double ending would have been better left on the cutting room floor, but "Freaky" has enough going for it — namely Vaughn, who's better than he's been able to be in years — that it's worth a stab.

agraham@detroitnews.com

@grahamorama

'Freaky'

GRADE: B-

Rated R: for strong bloody horror violence, sexual content, and language throughout

Running time: 101 minutes

In theaters