Aside from the odd John Woo action epic or French pervert thriller about David Duchovny being horny for his own daughter, body swap movies tend to play it safe. To distract people from the mind-boggling implications, they tend to be wacky family comedies in which the body-swappers get into awkward but wholesome hijinks, and the most risque joke is when someone peeks into their pants. And you'd be forgiven to think that a new body-switching movie featuring Vince Vaughn as a pretty blonde teen girl would be exactly that. Except this time, it not being very funny is the whole point.
Deadline recently announced that Disturbia's Chris Landon is working on a project in which Kathryn Newton (of Detective Pikachu fame) and Vince Vaughn (of definitely not True Detective fame) switch bodies. At first that sounds exactly like the kind of PG-13 comedy Vaughn used to do, probably filled with bad lesbian jokes and Owen Wilson doing his best surprised puppy face. Except that this switcheroo saga is reported to be more freaky than, um, Friday. Landon is intent on making a "gory, batsh*t" thriller. So while Vaughn is transported into the body of a popular high school girl, Newton is trapped in the body of a deranged serial killer, with only 24 hours revert the change before it becomes permanent.
Yet this series of odd choices may just be the recipe that finally nails the body swap horror movie, a notoriously difficult sub-sub-genre that not only requires the switching of bodies, but also the switching between psychological horror and farcical moments that flow from mistaken identities. But if anyone can do it, it's Landon, who has made it his niche to turn high-concept comedy tropes into disturbing horror movies. He's previously written and directed the well-received Happy Death Day, a horror take on Groundhog Day for people who didn't realize Groundhog Day already had that covered.
Meanwhile, Vince Vaughn has been quite literally killing it in his recent comeback by playing violent, toxic goons, so it'll be fascinating to watch him set up the menace of a hulking, dead-eyed Ed Kemper type before having to revert to his old style of a middle-aged man doing his best mean girl impression. And even if this ambitious project still fails, we'll at least get the gift of Kathryn Newton trying to channel Vince Vaughn by squinting a lot and ending every line by ad-libbing "That's just how I feel, baby. That's where I'm coming from."
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