Willy’s Wonderland

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Poster for the movie ""

Willy's Wonderland

Their idea of fun is killer!

20211 h 28 min
Overview

When his car breaks down, a quiet loner agrees to clean an abandoned family fun center in exchange for repairs. He soon finds himself waging war against possessed animatronic mascots while trapped inside Willy's Wonderland.

Metadata
Director Kevin Lewis
Runtime 1 h 28 min
Release Date 12 February 2021
Details
Movie Media VoD
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Good

After watching the Banana Splits Movie, I said to myself, “Hm, bet we won’t see another movie with killer animatronics for a long time.” I’m glad I didn’t put money on that. Now, B-movies about killer robots are not exactly unique. Evil Chuck E. Cheese, on the other hand, is a bit more niche. Before Willy’s Wonderland came out, everyone was saying, “So it’s just Five Nights are Freddy’s with Nicolas Cage.” And…yeah that was pretty much it. Can’t say viewers are going to go into this movie not knowing what to expect.

What I did not know, and did surprise me, is that Nic Cage plays a silent protagonist. And it works! And not in a gimmicky way like Jason Voorhees or Mini-Me either. His nameless character (credited as The Janitor) shows a lot of personality and badassery. When the evil animatronics attack, he starts fighting back like a pro with no fear or hesitation. All the other characters realize how messed up this situation is, but Nic Cage is just there with a “But for me, it was Tuesday” attitude. I never really thought about Nic Cage playing a silent protagonist before now but if it works it works.

Everything else in this movie is exactly what you’d exactly. Some horror, some comedy, and some action with all the standard tropes. Monsters in dark rooms, jump scares, teenagers being brutally killed one by one, the works. If you’re expecting anything other than a cliché horror-comedy that may or may not become a cult classic, I’m not sure why you’re even watching Willy’s Wonderland. This movie is made with a specific audience in mind and the trailer alone should let you know whether or not this film is for you.

Anyway, I liked it a lot. It did what it was trying to do with a good mix of CGI and practical effects. And Nic Cage being Nic Cage. I’m not sure they even gave him a script. They might have just explained the premise, shoved him on the set, and said, “Ok, do stuff. Cameras are rolling.” Everything here is basically what you would expect from Nic Cage, whose presence is a major selling point here. That and evil animatronics and the fact this is a horror B-movie. All hail cheesy movies!

February 28, 2021

Rising Tides (Destroyermen #5)

Published Post author

Rising Tides Book Cover Rising Tides
Destroyermen
Taylor Anderson
Sci-fi
Roc
February 1, 2011
Paperback
433

In Taylor Anderson's acclaimed Destroyermen series, a parallel universe adds a extraordinary layer to the drama of World War II. Now, as Lieutenant Commander Matthew Reddy and the crew of the U.S.S. Walker continue their battle for both freedom and survival, the stakes become much more personal...and much more perilous.

 

Rising Tides kicks off right where Distant Thunders left off, really being Act 2 of this story arc. With several of their people kidnapped, Captain Reddy and his destroyermen must sail Walker into new waters for the rescue. While the Empire seems like a potential ally, having traitors running loose does not make for a good first impression. Given the fact that the Empire was founded by ships from the East India Company at the height of its power, it should come as no surprise how their modern-day “Company” is behaving. Think Pirates of the Caribbean.

What Reddy can’t know, of course, is that the hostages have already rescued themselves. In no small part thanks to Silva. God, I love Silva. And they are now stuck on an island that’s just about as hospitable as anywhere else in this world. This takes us to the part of the story where the author has split the party. In pretty much any grand-scale military sci-fi series, this happens eventually. The war starts to get bigger and Team Protagonist has to split up to fight battles on multiple fronts. It’s now abundantly clear that The Grik are not the only threat in this world and the new enemies will also need to be dealt with.

The action is still a bit toned down here, but not as much as it was in the last book. Some of the action does come from military fighting while the rest is built around natural disasters and the planet’s many super-predators. This all happens on multiple fronts since the characters are scattered around now. Along with the physical danger, getting new factions involved means politics are now playing a bigger role in this war. Not to mention all the implications that the Empire’s existence has for the Lemurian religion and their newfound friendship with Reddy and his crew.

While Reddy and his crew are fully aware that humans can be bastards, this is a new(ish) concept for the Lemurians. Yeah, they’ve already fought against Kurokawa and know he’s helping the Grik. But knowing an enemy is on a ship somewhere is a lot different than talking to the person. Showing that so many other humans can be bastards demonstrates that Kurokawa is not some outlier of normal human behavior.

The events of Rising Tides wrap up a lot of subplots but also open many new doors. This really feels like the turning point where the series goes from being about one ship to being about war. And considering how good these books have been so far, I can’t wait to see where Anderson continues to take his series as it sails into new waters.

February 21, 2021

The Halfling’s Gem (Icewind Dale Trilogy #3/The Legend of Drizzt #6)

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The Halfling's Gem Book Cover The Halfling's Gem
The Legend of Drizzt
R.A. Salvatore
Fantasy
Wizards of the Coast
January 1990
Paperback
336

Regis has fallen into the hands of the assassin Artemis Entreri, who is taking him to Calimport to deliver him into the clutches of the vile Pasha Pook. But Drizzt and Wulfgar are close on their heels, determined to save Regis from his own folly as much as from his powerful enemies.

 

The Halfling’s Gem picks up right where Streams of Silver left off. Bruenor lost, Regis and Guenhwyvar kidnapped, and the remaining companions at a loss. Bruenor may be gone, but Regis and Guenhywvar can still be saved as the companions continue forward. Now, nothing in this book is too surprising. It’s still your standard fantasy fare. That being said, now that the group is out of not-Moria, the plot does start to get more original.

Like the rest of the Icewind Dale trilogy, there are no real surprises here. It’s fairly easy for readers to guess what will happen next, but the characterization and storytelling still make this book worthwhile. Regis’ old boss, Pasha Pook, serves as the key villain here but not really the main one. Entreri is still around and technically working for Pook, but very much has his own agenda. He leads the companions on a merry chase throughout the Forgotten Realms, dangling Regis as bait to lure Drizzt into the rematch he craves.

Despite this series later being coined “The Legend of Drizzt”, things are pretty even among the whole cast here. As I mentioned in my review of The Crystal Shard, Salvatore originally intended Wulfgar to be the main character. People just liked Drizzt better because he’s dark and mysterious but still a good person. The focus does start to lean a bit more towards Drizzt in this book, but the spotlight isn’t on him just yet.

That being said, everyone gets character development here. Regis (sorta) learns to be a better person, Wulfgar continues to learn about civilized lands, and love starts to blossom being Catti-brie and Drizzt. Kudos to Catti-brie for still being a warrior woman badass and not just a love interest. Entreri also takes a more central role as Drizzt’s rival and is sure to be a recurring villain in this series.

R.A. Salvatore’s writing continues to be incredibly detailed. The action sequences are fast-paced but every important little detail is still there. Instead of just saying “this person swings his sword”, Salvatore describes how they swing their sword, why, and what their opponent does in response. It gives a better sense of the immense skill each character possesses with their weapons.

Despite all that, The Halfling’s Gem still feels like a very early story. I wouldn’t go as far as to claim it has Early Installment Weirdness, it’s just…shallow. A standard fantasy adventure in a standard fantasy setting. But considering this series started in 1988 and is still going as of 2020, I assume things pick up a bit later.

February 14, 2021

The Saga of Tanya the Evil, Vol. 6: Nil Admirari

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The Saga of Tanya the Evil, Vol. 6: Nil Admirari Book Cover The Saga of Tanya the Evil, Vol. 6: Nil Admirari
The Saga of Tanya the Evil
Carlo Zen
Light Novel
Yen On
August 6, 2019 (English) | July 30, 2016 (Japanese)
Paperback
288

Through the bone-chilling winter wind, the clashes of war can be heard. Equipped with fragile weapons and machinery, Tanya and her unit march toward the Eastern front. There, Tanya realizes the primitiveness of it all, and that it'll take more than a miracle to emerge unscathed...

 

Simply put, Nil Admirari is the weakest book in The Saga of Tanya the Evil so far. The phrase Nil Admirari is Latin for “to be surprised by nothing”. Tanya has spent a lot of this series doing just that thanks to her knowledge of Earth’s military history. And just like certain real-world wars, this book deals with how it’s a really bad idea to invade Russia during winter. The characters know this and everyone on both sides starts to hunker down for the winter. So, that doesn’t leave much room for the fighting this series is really built on. It takes a backseat this book and the story spends most of its time on another component of war: politics.

Personally, I still enjoyed this because politics interest me. But it is very different from what this series has been up until now. It may be a turnoff for a lot of readers who are much more interested in the action.

So, we’ve reached the point where the story is mimicking late-WWII in a lot of ways. Particularly the political failings that affected Germany at the end of WWII. In both real history and this book, there comes a point where people start to realize the war can’t go on forever. Militarily, the Empire is at its limit and they will run out of manpower and resources eventually.

So, when you cannot keep fighting, what’s the next step? Negotiate, of course. That’s the simple, logical solution. But humans are rarely simple, logical creatures. Yes, you can look at material numbers, but how do you justify all the sacrifices it took to get to that point? The generation of young people that have been wiped out by the conflict? Should you get nothing for all the sweat and blood you spent to get here?! Depends on how much you value your pride.

And just because Tanya (and others, mostly others. Tanya’s barely in this book, actually) are debating all this doesn’t mean the war is on full pause. We do still get a few minor action scenes in here plus more battles that are mentioned rather than seen. But it’s clear to everyone that before long something is going to break. The Empire? Their enemies? Time will tell in the next book. And hopefully with more action sequences to pick up the pace.

February 7, 2021

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

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Poster for the movie "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

20171 h 55 min
Overview

After seven months have passed without a culprit in her daughter's murder case, Mildred Hayes makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at Bill Willoughby, the town's revered chief of police. When his second-in-command Officer Jason Dixon, an immature mother's boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle between Mildred and Ebbing's law enforcement is only exacerbated.

Metadata
Director Martin McDonagh
Runtime 1 h 55 min
Release Date 10 November 2017
Details
Movie Media VoD
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Very good

If I had to use just one word to describe this movie, it’d be “sorrowful”. The film is very much a black comedy, but there are segments where it leans a lot more towards “black” than “comedy”. The premise is pretty simple; this woman’s daughter was raped & murdered, the cops didn’t catch whoever did it, and that is destroying her. It’s pretty obvious from the get-go that Frances McDormand’s character Mildred does not take shit from people. But at the same time, she feels powerless in so many ways and it’s hard to watch all the struggles happening to this woman and the people around her all stemming from this one horrific act of violence.

The performances here are amazing. Just about every time Mildred opens her mouth, you can feel the anger and resolve of her words in the air. But we also see her moments of grief; she is a very 3D character. One moment you’re laughing at how she’s made some bastard feel like a fool and the next you’re sucker-punched in the gut by seeing her vulnerable. And it all just feels…real. Movie characters can be pretty 2D and simplistic, but everyone knows that real life is a swirl of emotions. Horrible things like this actually happen, all the time, and even fictional stories like this one (built with a grain of truth, mind you) can hurt even while being entertaining once you remember that.

Now, I have seen a couple of other reviews that complain about the portrayal of racism in this film. On one hand, I definitely agree that the racist characters turning over a new leaf and all is forgiven is bullshit. On the other hand, this movie takes place in rural Missouri. It would be weird if there weren’t any racist characters. I say that as someone who lives in Missouri, born and raised. You get more than a couple of miles from the major city limits around here and you start to hear banjos.

This is definitely one of the emotionally strongest films I’ve seen, ever. Everybody goes through some form of pain and loss in their life, but my god, I cannot imagine what it would be like to lose a child. Most people can’t, thankfully. But this film comes shockingly close to giving audiences a taste of what those emotions can do to people. And despite all the plot holes…well, it’s still a movie. Suspension of disbelief is a thing, use it and just enjoy the film.

January 31, 2021

Field of Dishonor (Honor Harrington #4)

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Field of Dishonor Book Cover Field of Dishonor
Honor Harrington
David Weber
Sci-fi
Baen
October 1994
Paperback
416

HONOR BETRAYED

The People's Republic of Haven's sneak attack on the Kingdom of Manticore has failed. The Peeps are in disarray, their leaders fighting for power in bloody revolution, and the Royal Manticoran Navy stands victorious.

But Manticore has domestic problems of its own, and success can be more treacherous than defeat for Honor Harrington. Now, trapped at the core of a political crisis she never sought, betrayed by an old and vicious enemy she'd thought vanquished forever, she stands alone.

She must fight for justice on a battlefield she never trained for in a private war that offers just two choices: death . . . or a ''victory'' that can end only in dishonor and the loss of all she loves.

 

Field of Dishonor picks up right where the last book left off. Honor has returned home to have her ship repaired after the ass-kicking she gave the Republic of Haven and is hailed a hero as open warfare between Haven and Manticore is finally declared. But despite the war now being on, that’s not really what Field of Dishonor is about. First, we have to get a few unresolved plotlines out of the way, namely the cowardly actions of Pavel Young from the last book.

Field of Dishonor opens up with Young’s sham of a trial due to the politics involved and his family influence. And here we have yet another person who decides it’s in their best interest to take Honor down a peg. Despite her growing history of quickly flipping the table on anyone who tries. Now, this is actually a nice reprieve since Honor Harrington is a space opera series. Field of Dishonor gives us a point where we see less of the “space” and more of the “opera” and that’s always nice if you’re into this type of story.

Up to this point, we’ve seen Honor get hurt physically and still pull off victories. In personal hand-to-hand combat and military ship-to-ship combat, she can clearly handle herself. Field of Dishonor instead deals with her being hurt in a deeply emotional way and having to cope with that. And not because a comrade dies in military service, but because her enemies are specifically targetting her. We already know at this point that her past has been a rough emotionally, but this is our first time seeing her deal with a fresh, new hurt.

And boy, does she deal with it. You’d think it’d be pretty clear to people at this point that Honor does not back down. She is a lioness and will fight to the bitter end to protect herself, her nation, and her people. Yes, she has a gentle soul, but she can be equally merciless when the situation calls for it. And she is smart and strong enough to figure out how to pull it off every time. But her temper also threatens to take her down a dark path. In her quest for vengeance, she starts to get tunnel vision and becomes almost obsessed with it, consequences be damned.

I can’t go into too much detail about what happens in this book without spoilers, but it is heart-wrenching. And while Honor doesn’t stop being a badass, it gives her some much-needed character development to make her more than a cut-and-paste Mary Sue. There are going to be consequences for her actions here and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out in the next book.

January 24, 2021

The Rising of the Shield Hero, Volume 7

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The Rising of the Shield Hero, Volume 7 Book Cover The Rising of the Shield Hero, Volume 7
The Rising of the Shield Hero
Aneko Yusagi
Light Novel
One Peace Books
April 18, 2017 (English) | September 25, 2014 (Japanese)
Paperback
400

Naofumi and his friends defeat the Spirit Tortoise after it rampages across the country. They leave in search of the other missing heroes and meet Ost along the way, who says she is one of the Spirit Tortoise s servants. She tells Naofumi that the Spirit Tortoise is still alive and that someone is pulling the strings to use the tortoise to destroy the world! Can Naofumi protect those he loves from this new danger?

 

The Rising of the Shield Hero, Volume 7 continues the new story arc that began in Volume 6. The end of the last book made it pretty clear that things were far from over with this latest threat. And that’s 100% what Volume 7 is about: dealing with the latest threat. I hope you enjoyed the world-building in the last book because there’s very little room for more of that here. This entire book is just one massive fight scene. It was almost like an overly long shonen story arc.

Now, the issue is basically what the series is now compared to what it was. The big draw for me initially was how Naofumi was the underdog. The world sucker-punched him in the gut, and he resolved to get through it through his own grit. And then, he did that. We’re past it now. He still has his allies but is now bolstered by national support since the other heroes have fouled things up so badly by this point. He’s not the underdog anymore. Which, I mean, I’m not saying he should have wallowed in misery forever, but things turned around pretty completely for him fast. Even if the whole experience did leave him pretty jaded.

Maybe it’s more the translation than anything else, but the writing in this series has always just been ok. I don’t want to call it bad but it’s very…direct. The ideas are there but they’re not being handed to the reader so much as thrown at them. Since this volume is just a fight and not many new ideas are introduced, it struggles to hold up to the previous volumes. Yeah, we get to meet the new bad guy but he’s so generic. Basically, just your standard cocky villain. And Rishia gets a big character development moment at the end but that’s kind of it. Everyone else is just doing their usual thing here.

This is very much a transition point in the current story arc. It’s not the most exciting part of the story but it does need to happen to bridge the more interesting bits together. The epilogue was extra neat too and shows that things are going to pick back up in Volume 8. I’m just hoping at this point that Shield Hero doesn’t jump the shark the way a lot of other long-running series do eventually. Here’s to hoping.

January 17, 2021

Streams of Silver (Icewind Dale Trilogy #2/The Legend of Drizzt #5)

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Streams of Silver Book Cover Streams of Silver
The Legend of Drizzt
R.A. Salvatore
Fantasy
TSR Inc.
January 1, 1989
Paperback
349

"Yer eyes'll shine when ye see the rivers runnin' silver in Mithril Hall!"

Bruenor the dwarf, Wulfgar the barbarian, Regis the halfling, and Drizzt the dark elf fight monsters and magic on their way to Mithril Hall, centuries-old birthplace of Bruenor and his dwarven ancestors.

Faced with racism, Drizzt contemplates returning to the lightless underworld city and murderous lifestyle he abandoned. Wulfgar begins to overcome his tribes's aversion for magic. And Regis runs from a deadly assassin, who, allied with evil wizards, is bent on the companions' destruction. all fo Bruenor's dreams, and the survival of his party, hinge upon the actions of one brave young woman.

Streams of Silver is R.A. Salvatore's second book in the Icewind Dale Trilogy, based on the FORGOTTEN REALMS fantasy setting.

 

Streams of Silver was originally written as part 2 of a trilogy, but its predecessor really felt like a standalone book. We’ve got a lot of the same characters from book 1 but most of the plot is all new. With the whole Crystal Tower thing resolved, Bruenor can now focus on reclaiming his ancestral home. Now, I know what you’re thinking. A dwarf and his small band of friends seeking to reclaim a lost underground homeland. You might be tempted to think it feels like a Tolkien ripoff. And you’d be right.

The Tolkien homage notwithstanding, a lot of other stuff does happen in Streams of Silver before the party makes it to the mine. It’s not like Bruenor’s ancestral homeland is right next door. They have to make it through dangerous lands filled with monsters first. Along the way, they’ll make new friends & new enemies and have a chance to grow.

Since this is a sequel, our protagonists are not new characters. With the tedious character introductions out of the way, there’s more time to focus on character development. Which is a godsend considering how everyone was a generic fantasy stereotype in book 1. The new characters all get treated well though.

Now, one thing that bothered me in the last book was how inconsistent the monsters are in terms of strength. There’s a lot of Conservation of Ninjutsu here but after seeing it in the first book, I’m more willing to just roll with it this time. Not to mention the characters get some crazy-powerful magic items, on top of the ones they already had from the last book. Since this is a novel, not a game, those choices make sense. Games have to maintain a sense of balance while other stories can let the heroes hack through armies of mooks to reach the Big Bad.

The other big difference is how Streams of Silver ends. There were still a few loose threads at the end of The Crystal Shard, but the story was more or less over. This time around, the story is left very much incomplete by the end. There’s a lot of stuff that’s still unresolved and the protagonists are a little worse for wear by the end. It’s far from the “the day is saved” ending that The Crystal Shard gave us. Which shows a great deal more comprehensive planning on the author’s part. Or it could just mean Salvatore got renewed for 2 books at once, I don’t know.

Either way, this book was fun and it seems like the next one will be the same way. Especially if you’re a D&D fan. Considering people are still playing D&D today (including me), it’s hard to remember this book is older than I am. Just another 30 or so years of lore to catch up on now, whew.

January 10, 2021

The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s

Published Post author

The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s Book Cover The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s
Andy Greene
Non-Fiction
Dutton Books
March 24, 2020
Hardcover
464

The untold stories behind The Office, one of the most iconic television shows of the twenty-first century, told by its creators, writers, and actors

When did you last hang out with Jim, Pam, Dwight, Michael, and the rest of Dunder Mifflin? It might have been back in 2013, when the series finale aired . . . or it might have been last night, when you watched three episodes in a row. But either way, fifteen years after the show first aired, it's more popular than ever, and fans have only one problem--what to watch, or read, next.

Fortunately, Rolling Stone writer Andy Greene has that answer. In his brand-new oral history, The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, Greene will take readers behind the scenes of their favorite moments and characters. Greene gives us the true inside story behind the entire show, from its origins on the BBC through its impressive nine-season run in America, with in-depth research and exclusive interviews. Fans will get the inside scoop on key episodes from "The Dundies" to "Threat Level Midnight" and "Goodbye, Michael," including behind-the-scenes details like the battle to keep it on the air when NBC wanted to pull the plug after just six episodes and the failed attempt to bring in James Gandolfini as the new boss after Steve Carell left, spotlighting the incredible, genre-redefining show created by the family-like team, who together took a quirky British import with dicey prospects and turned it into a primetime giant with true historical and cultural significance.

Hilarious, heartwarming, and revelatory, The Office gives fans and pop culture buffs a front-row seat to the phenomenal sequence of events that launched The Office into wild popularity, changing the face of television and how we all see our office lives for decades to come.

 

Normally, I don’t pay much attention to behind-the-scenes stuff. I go through enough books, shows, movies, etc. that just learning all the in-universe stuff is already a lot. But it is always interesting to learn what real-world events influence how a show turns out. Was there a point where an actor was unavailable, and their character had to disappear for an episode? Was a certain iconic scene improvised on the spot? To what degree did Executive Meddling result in some horrible decision-making? The Office (the book) touches on all that and more but does it pretty uniquely by just quoting the cast, crew, and others involved with the show’s production.

The book is laid out chronologically, beginning with how The Office got greenlit. And it’s kind of hard to do a traditional review of this book because of the formatting, so here’s just a little preview of some of the things I learned here:

  • Steve Carell starring in The 40-Year-Old Virgin played a big role in boosting The Office’s initial ratings.
  • Carell really kept his colleagues fired up and set the tone on the set. He was always very supportive and a hard worker who helped everyone else out however he could.
  • Carell left the show because NBC just…didn’t renew his contract. He waited for the call, it never came, and he had other job offers so he let himself leave.
  • The set was more or less a real, functioning office space after season 1. They had working plumbing, computers connected to the Internet, and more instead of just a set. The computers were a big thing because some of the cast would spend days at a time sitting in the background while filming focused on other characters.
  • Jim and Pam’s wedding originally had Roy showing up on a white horse to try and stop it. He would fall into the river, then during the wedding vows you could see the horse go over Niagara Falls in the background. This scene was ultimately deemed hilarious but too far removed from reality for The Office, so they cut it.
  • Andy was made manager in Season 8 because Ed Helms was in The Hangover (there’s that Executive Meddling).
  • There was almost a spinoff show about Dwight’s farm after The Office ended.

Now, like a lot of shows, it did take The Office a while to Grow the Beard. Thankfully not as much as some other shows (coughParksAndReccough). This book basically gives a play-by-play of how The Office did that and how everything had to be planned each season. It was never really a cohesive thing for the creators since going into each season they never knew if it would be their last one.

The Office had its’ ups and downs, something the cast and crew were well aware of, but is still a great show. And this book tells you how it all happened. If you liked the show, this book will give you another perspective that can make you love it just a little bit more.

January 3, 2021

Freaky

Published Post author

Poster for the movie "Freaky"

Freaky

20201 h 42 min
Overview

A mystical, ancient dagger causes a notorious serial killer to magically switch bodies with a 17-year-old girl.

Metadata
Runtime 1 h 42 min
Release Date 12 November 2020
Details
Movie Media VoD
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Very good

So, the premise of Freaky is pretty simple. It’s Freaky Friday but instead of a teenage girl swapping bodies with her mom, it’s a teenage girl swapping bodies with a deranged serial killer. Why this wasn’t released in October, we’ll never know, but it was still a fun film. Would I call it horror-comedy gold? No, it’s a far cry from Tucker and Dale or What We Do in the Shadows. But seeing Vince Vaughn play a teenage girl is one of the best things I’ve seen since seeing Jack Black play a teenage girl.

Now the main issue this movie had was the pacing. It starts off fairly slow and not that different from any other 2nd-rate slasher flick. Despite the main premise of the movie being the bodyswap, it takes a while for it to actually happen. Once we get to that point the movie finally gets going. But it’s more the actors than anything else that carry this film. The writing is just ok and there aren’t really any surprises here, you’ll see what’s coming. But the delivery is on point from pretty much every member of the cast, particularly the leads.

Vince Vaughn has a pretty good range, but I’ve always liked him best in Dodgeball. Comedy is just where he shines for me and that carries over into Freaky. Plus, the fact that he plays two extremely different characters, one comedic and one serious, but nails both roles really sticks out here. Likewise, Kathryn Newton does the same thing and nails it even better. She flips between a stereotypical teenage girl and a sadistic monster pretty seamlessly, much to the horror of her victims. And I’m sure there’s something to be said here about how we as a society make assumptions towards other people based on their appearances, but that’s a bit more meta than I want to get here.

Anyway, is this film a cinematic masterpiece? No. Is it a fun, goofy horror-comedy? You bet it is. So long as you’re not taking it seriously, Freaky is a fantastic film. They knew what they were aiming for when they made this movie and they hit the mark. This obviously isn’t for everyone, but if you like these kinds of movies the way I do it’ll scratch that itch.

December 27, 2020