Movie Review: Happy Death Day (2016)

Directed by Christopher B. Landon (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, Paranormal Activity 2 through 5), Happy Death Day is a 2016 comedy-horror movie. Tree (Jessica Rothe) is a college student (and a real bitch) who is killed before the end of her birthday, but wakes up once more at the beginning of her birthday in the dorm room of Carter (Isreal Broussard), and must relive her day in order to discover who is killing her.

+ Tree (Rothe) is a joy to watch, as her personality slowly transforms from Rachel McAdams in Mean Girls-esque alpha bitch to a classic slasher-film scream queen, before again transforming to something like Melissa Benoist’s Supergirl – her resemblance to both actresses may be more than coincidental. None of the acting was bad enough to note, but this really is Rothe’s film to control
+ the killers’ baby mask could be goofy, given the fact it is a baby mask, but it’s penchant to appear suddenly behind Tree makes it something a bit more menacing. It may not rate up there with Jason’s hockey mask or Michael Myers’ emaciated visage, but dammit if that single tooth doesn’t give me the heebie jeebies
+ the plot, or perhaps more to the point, the mystery of the killers’ identity is played well. There are hints and fake-outs and you’ll certainly start making mental notes about the time that Tree makes her list. I enjoyed thinking about it as I was watching, and I wasn’t entirely unsatisfied

happydeathday_2.jpg
In images, that baby mask is so silly. But in the movie it’s really quite scary.

– one interesting plot point from the trailers (but look away now if you don’t want spoilers!) is never really played up to it’s fullest. The residual effects Tree sustains from each death begin to catch up with her, and stay with her through each loop… but it is only mentioned in one of the time loops. I was looking forward to seeing how this was going to play out, but instead it is dropped entirely
– just how Tree finds herself in the time loop is never explained, which was extremely disappointing – but I don’t know if there was any answer they could have given that would have left me content. Apparently this is going to be covered in a sequel, if one eventuates (and if this film allows one…)

> Don’t worry, the similarities to Groundhog Day don’t go unnoticed, or unmentioned

Should you see this film: When I saw the trailer for this in the cinema, I, along with the whole cinema, laughed thinking it was going to be horrible. I am not above admitting this was significantly better than I thought it would be. I enjoyed this, and I think you will too.

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