Same Day, New Killer
Blumhouse’s commercial success with “Happy Death Day” in 2017 was nothing short of incredible, so it makes complete sense for a sequel to be hitting screens just in-time for Valentine’s Day! This time around, in the appropriately-titled “Happy Death Day 2U”, the film opens with Ryan (Phi Vu) as he re-lives his current day over after being mysteriously killed. In a panic he storms into his dorm room, where Tree (Jessica Rothe) and Carter (Israel Broussard) are lying on the bed. As Ryan begins to explain his terrifying experience, they both realize their tragic coincidence. As Ryan continues his story, they determine that his science experiment may be to blame for the time loops. As they try to destroy the project and set things back to normal, Tree gets snapped-back to her original loop from the first film; only this time, something’s off. As she has to solve another tragic murder case, she must also confront her deepest fear that forces her to make the ultimate choice.
It was obviously a no-brainer for Blumhouse to capitalize on the success of the first film. In recent years, we’ve seen prequels and sequels to their monster franchise of “The Purge” and an open-door for the return of Michael Myers in “Halloween”. They’re a production company that thrives on original ideas and franchises. But while so many go so wrong, Blumhouse once again proves that are the masters of franchises. While the first film was campy but fun, the sequel takes a whole new approach. “Happy Death Day 2U” is filled with lots of laughs and plenty of jokes, while raising the bar when it comes to imaginative deaths. The film keeps what worked from the first movie and capitalizes on it; a “Groundhog’s Day” meets “Back to the Future Part II” horror thriller that makes the audience aware of its primary goal early. Tree’s terror parade only cements their aim even more, as it truly is hysterical.
While so many sequels often rely too much on their predecessor, “Happy Death Day 2U” does so as well, but it works with an enormous payoff due to the story that’s constructed throughout its 100 minute run time. Brilliantly, its clever twist gives something for fans of the original and newcomers alike to enjoy! While the setup is certainly well done, the film’s execution falls below-par. A haphazard script filled with strange character choices and painful, generic dialog drags the film down from what it could have been. While there’s no doubt the film’s script was the last thing on the filmmaker’s mind, it could have helped elevate the film had a little more care been shown in that area. Perhaps the most remarkable essence of the film is its ambition, which is never lacking; but is all the more impressive during the film’s end credits as we are shown a little teaser as to what a third installment may just have in-store for its fans.
While never trying to be anything groundbreaking or serious, “Happy Death Day 2U” is equal parts campy-fun and humor that strives when its ambition is at its highest. While I can’t tell you to rush to see this movie in theaters, I have to say it is and hour and forty minutes of fun that is sure to leave you entertained!
HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U is rated PG-13 for violence, language, sexual material and thematic elements, in theaters FEBRUARY 13TH!