Movies about days repeating themselves aren’t exactly new, with Bill Murray’s “Groundhog Day” popularising the trend in 1993, but also coining the phrase, which now meant something other than just the US National Holiday. The more recent “Before I Fall” attempted to capitalise on the trend, but according to our resident reviewer Mike, failed tremendously.
“Happy Death Day” is basically the same premise – Tree (Jessica Rothe) wakes up on her birthday in a strange dorm room, events transpire throughout the day, until the time she is murdered that night. Fortunately, she awakes again on the same day, in the same dorm room. This series of events continues until she works out that she has to solve her own murder, in order to prevent getting killed, in order to continue living.
Unfortunately for Tree, the list of potential killers is probably longer than the contact lists in most people’s phones, so she’s certainly got a task ahead of her.
While solving her own murder, Tree also goes on a quest for self-discovery, quickly working out that she’s actually not that nice of a person, and aims to rectify that. Add in a potential love interest and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a teen classic.
As a whole, “Happy Death Day” is fairly entertaining, and enjoyable. It’s got elements of horror to keep those fans at bay, and the usual teenage angst to grip those younger fans. The acting is pretty good, and the leading lady is both loveable and loathable all at the same time. Most of the cast are fairly unknown actors, but certainly shine in the film.
There’s a few parts of the story that just don’t work, and should have been re-thought out. It’s all in the name of context, and while it helps tie the story together, it seems to have been done in haste and ends up leaving more questions in my brain than answers.
Nevertheless, I’d certainly say give “Happy Death Day” a go if you like the teen-stabby-horror genre, and want something reliable and solid this Friday the 13th. Stick around for the “Groundhog Day” reference, too.