History Repeating.. Again (Happy Death Day 2 You, 2019)

Happy_Death_Day_2_You_PosterSo, Happy Death Day had a pretty simple premise.  Groundhog Day with a serial killer.  Tree woke up on her birthday, is killed by a serial killer. She had to solve the mystery of the killer and become a better person. She succeeded and the loop was over.  Until now…

Happy Death Day 2 You opts to explain what actually caused Tree’s time loop. The result is a change to the film…rather than being horror Groundhog’s day, the film goes on a sci-fi bent involving parallel universes.

The cause of the loop is a science experiment being conducted by students.  When the time loop begins for Ryan, Tree and Carter to help him close the loop.  But in the middle of their attempts, the Dean interrupts and the end result is an explosion.

Tree wakes up to find herself in her original time loop…or so it seems.  She discovers that there are many subtle differences…and at least one that makes her hesitant to return to how things were.

I liked this part a lot, as Tree finds herself torn between her family and her boyfriend Carter. The cast is enjoyable, and I generally liked the characters. The film has some good twists on events and characters in the previous film.

While I largely enjoyed the film, there was some problems.  Even though the previous film established that each time she dies and returns, she is weaker…and one too many deaths, she may not wake up again.  However, while this plays a role somewhat late in the film, Tree has a montage of “wacky suicides”. This borders on slapstick (and one death borrows directly from Groundhog’s Day) to the point of ruining the tone.

Also, the final tag of the film during the end credits seems unnecessarily cruel.

But I largely, as with the first film, enjoyed this one.  And the switch to sci-fi is a pleasant surprise.

History Repeating (Happy Death Day, 2017)

Happy_Death_Day_PosterTree 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.

 

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