Simple Review: A pleasant surprise party
Sometimes a movie comes along that is like eating at your favorite fast food restaurant, you know it isn’t five-star cuisine but it makes your tummy happy while you eat it. Happy Death Day was such a movie for me. I went into it with doubt it would be good, but curious about what they would do with the premise and much to my surprise I had a good time watching it. Sure the movie was far from perfect but it had an excellent lead acting performance and the filmmakers had fun with the Groundhog Day meets a horror movie plot. When the sequel was announced I rolled my eyes at what seemed to be a quick cash grab, but I admit I was curious to see what they could possibly do to follow up the first film. Does Happy Death Day 2U deliver a worthy continuation of the story or does it ruin the party by binge drinking and throwing up birthday cake on your new couch? Grab your last minute present, light them candles and let’s try to throw a big ole surprise party for this silly review!
Happy Death Day 2U continues the story of a young college student, Tree, as she is caught in a loop having to relive the same day in which she is murdered until her and her friends try to find clues to close the loop. ” Wait a minute, that sounds like the first film,” you may be yelling at me through your internet device. Well, calm down my favorite keyboard warrior and allow me to describe the changes the filmmakers made to add to the story. Be patient, my friend, as we both know you do not have anything in your life more important than reading this review. As I stated earlier, I went into this movie curious to see what the filmmakers could add to the story and was pleasantly surprised that they didn’t simply redo the first one but added more to this world. Happy Death Day 2u delivers enough good things and bad things to make writing a review wonderfully easy! Thank you HDD2U, thank you. ( I used abbreviations to be hip and cool for the youngsters reading this!)
As I am prone to do I am going to lead into this review with the positives this movie delivers to us, the popcorn loving audience. As with the first film, the biggest positive in the film is Jessica Rothe who plays the main character, Tree. Once again Jessica throws herself into this role and is able to balance the silliness with the emotional moments in the movie. Jessica is far and away the star of this movie and I look forward to seeing her in other movies to see if she can bring the same energy and charisma to different roles. The rest of the cast does a respectable job, as some of the minor characters in the first film have expanded roles in this one. I liked Rachel Mathews as sorority girl Danielle, who has more to do in this film and while she is over the top in some scenes it was fun watching her playing a different version of the same character. For me, that was the most interesting part of this movie, watching some of these actors as they played the same character from the first film in a different way which kept my interest throughout the film.
Writer and director Christopher Landon does something that most sequels fail to do: keep the familiar while adding more to the story and the world these characters inhabit. While I don’t agree with every new direction the movie takes, I did like that this wasn’t just a rehash of the first movie. We get to see how a different character reacts to being in a similar loop as Tree was in the first one which leads us to the reason why the loop is happening. When Tree accidentally gets sent back to her loop things have changed in her life which force her to make difficult decisions that have more weight than the first movie. Suddenly our small horror movie set on a college campus grows into a dilemma that reaches into more lives causing ripples throughout this universe. It is an ambitious move by the filmmakers and it keeps this movie both familiar and fresh.
Happy Death Day 2U adds more to the basic horror movie plot of the first one, turning into a mix of horror, sci-fi, and comedy. This blend of genres offers hit and miss moments throughout the movie. There are moments of laugh out loud comedy, especially a scene involving skydiving, that are clever and often times winking at us enough to let us know not to get too serious with this premise. While this adds to the fun it does overshadow the horror element of the first movie, which takes a back seat to the sci-fi comedy angle. I am sharing this with you so you will not go into this expecting to be scared out of your wits.
This leads us into the not-so-great moments from HDD2U. I am not sure if you will find this to be negative but the decision to make the events of the first movie be as a result of a science experiment takes away from the mystery of why Tree was in the time loop. It takes an unoriginal idea to describe events that were more fun being a mystery. Yes, it does build a larger world, which I liked, but it does hurt the original film’s premise. Some of the comedy is too cartoony and over the top which distracts from some of the more emotional moments this movie offers. Tree has extremely emotional scenes with loved ones that are lessened by having the next scene be a slapstick comedy scene straight out of Looney Toons. As I wrote earlier, the horror element is close to being non-existent which is disappointing because the idea of having to face the killer, again and again, is exciting. The sci-fi plot does get convoluted and exposition heavy and for some reason, the twist involving the character of Ryan that happens relatively early on in the movie gets abandoned and there is no resolution to the setup.
We have reached the moment when we need to end the endless loop of this review and get a final verdict on Happy Death Day 2U. Overall I had a good time with this movie and liked the world building the filmmakers did. While it is not a great movie it has enough going for it to warrant a recommendation especially if you enjoyed the first one. If you didn’t like the first one, what the hell are you doing reading a review for its sequel, weirdo?
I hope you enjoyed this rambling insanity of a review and if you did please comment, like, follow and share this review so we can take over the world!
As always, thanks for your time!
The Movie Psycho