Tree is apparently the child of hippies, cause who else would name their kid Tree?
But seriously… Tree is a popular and all around unpleasant sorority girl. On her birthday, she wakes up in the room of some random guy. She storms out and has a generally annoying day that culminates in her murder by a masked killer (the mask is the school mascot… which is a pretty creepy choice for a school to make).
She wakes up to the same day, confused as events repeat themselves…including the masked killer murdering her. She then wakes up and realizes it is the same day. As she pieces it together, she tries to figure out why, but decides she has to solve her murder.
Of course, the problem is, Tree is just a jerk, she has a lot of suspects to work her way through.
To be blunt…and the film admits this outright…it is basically Groundhog’s Day, but with a serial killer. And it really…well, works.
The film starts adding progressive stakes, forcing Tree to face the fact that she may, in fact, not survive the experience. And this causes her to look inward and not like the person she sees. While Bill Murray’s Phil decides to use his time loop to woo Rita, Tree looks at the bigger picture. And I think this is something the film does pretty well. Jessica Rothe does a convincing job of showing tangible change in Tree’s personality. The gimmick feels pretty fresh, even though it is clearly lifted from a very specific film.
Happy Death Day is a fun horror film that I think even folks who don’t care for slashers might enjoy.