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Freaky: The Dagger & Body Swap Curse Explained


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Christopher Landon’s Freaky introduces a mystical Aztec dagger with the ability to make two people swap bodies — here’s how it works.

In director Christopher Landon’s Freaky, a ritual Aztec dagger causes a lot of problems for high school student Millie Kessler (Kathryn Newton), but how does it (and its curse) work? While the movie does explain this in part, it’s secondary to the greater story about identity and self-discovery, and leaves a few questions about the movie’s franchising future.

After Millie is attacked by the Blissfield Butcher (Vince Vaughn), who many considered to be merely an urban legend, on the night of the full moon—after a football game, where she is hindered by her school’s Beaver mascot costume—she wakes up in the burly, very male body of her attacker. The Butcher, meanwhile, wakes up the following morning safe and warm in Millie’s bed. In a particularly tense breakfast scene, her mother is overly attentive and protective of her newly-injured daughter, feeling partially responsible given the fact that she’d passed out from drinking the night before when she was supposed to pick Millie up at school. The dagger is essentially a vehicle for Landon and his co-writer, Michael Kennedy, to usher along their body swap premise, but has some greater significance that could become more fleshed out in a sequel.

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Related: Why Freaky’s R Rating Might Mean The End Of PG-13 Horror Movies

After Millie’s friends Nyla (Celeste O’Connor) and Josh (Misha Osherovich) discover their friend is now (temporarily) stuck in the body of a serial killer, who has become the subject of a town-wide manhunt, they go to their Spanish teacher to help uncover more information about the dagger. After she explains that the dagger not only causes two people to swap bodies, but also the change is rendered permanent within 24 hours, time becomes of the essence. From there, the mythological background and greater workings of the curse aren’t elaborated on, leading to a few questions about how, exactly, it all works.

How The Dagger’s Curse Works

Vince Vaughn in Freaky

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Though only discussed briefly, it seems like the swap between the Butcher and Millie happened because of a perfect storm. The combination of the dagger’s inherent magic with the full moon and Friday the 13th seemingly caused everything to align, leaving an environment for this strange phenomena. It’s convenient, too, that the Butcher happened to be interrupted when he was about to kill Millie. Had her sister—a police officer—not intervened, Millie would have likely been killed in her attack. There’s no indication of what would have happened, or if the curse would have even taken place, if Millie had been killed. When the Butcher stabbed her in the shoulder, he suffered an identical injury — this exchange was likely how and why the swap occurred. Most ancient magic, at least in folklore and horror movies, traditionally employs some kind of blood sacrifice.

How A Freaky Sequel Could Address Unanswered Questions

Vince Vaughn with Dagger in Freaky 2020

If Landon revisits Freaky in a sequel, there’s plenty of room to expand on the dagger’s mythology, origins, and curse. Because there was only enough details given to make the body swap premise make sense, it could become a greater part of a future movie if it fell into another killer’s hands. Because of what’s known about it, Millie and her friends are informed enough to reverse the curse, but it doesn’t completely solve the problem. The dagger, so long as it remains in play, could potentially fall into the wrong hands — there was no mention of how or if it could be destroyed, which is something a future sequel could address. Another unanswered question is related to why the dagger was able to compel the Butcher into stealing and using it; likely, there’s some dark magic involved.

Finally, the body-swap concept of Freaky is bolstered by the fact that the attack took place on Friday the 13th during a full moon. This is atmospheric, and adds a level of fright to the movie, but it’s not known whether this is a situation that must occur for a swap to take place. Also, there’s nothing further explained about what happens if someone who is stabbed with the dagger dies. If there’s no living person to exchange places with, it essentially eliminates the purpose of the dagger altogether. As of this writing, there’s no news about a sequel to Freaky, but it’s possible Landon will revisit Blissfield if the movie is successful.

Next: Every Horror Movie Franchise Created By Blumhouse (So Far)

Key Release Dates

  • Freaky (2020)Release date: Nov 13, 2020

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Updated: November 16, 2020 — 1:00 am

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