The Happy Death Day franchise seems to be emerging as one worth your attention, with a surprise two consecutive noteworthy movies from Blumhouse. Whilst 2017’s Happy Death Day pushed a breath of fresh air into the tired genre of slashers with witty humour and an outstanding cast, it was difficult to see how a sequel could keep the franchise from receding.
Happy Death Day 2U proves otherwise by throwing audiences off with context, and massive world-building potential. With that said, this is no horror movie, so don’t walk into theaters expecting anything conventionally horrific. Not even jump scares.
As the trailer implies, multiple realities and time are another on the list of tired tropes that Happy Death Day 2U executes with fine perfection. Lead collegian Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) learns that the happy ending she had in Happy Death Day was all too temporary when she wakes up in an alternate reality. The character and her counterparts, including her boyfriend Carter (who’s now with someone else) find themselves in an endless loop trying to fix a time vortex problem much bigger than themselves.
The central plot of the Happy Death Day franchise surrounds the mystery of Tree having to relive the night of her murder (also her birthday) by someone in a Babyface mask, time and time again, in different manners. Her body is more worn with every day that she gets re-murdered, and the loop only seems to end upon the slasheriffic death of her murderer. This second instalment doesn’t bother with too much hand-holding to bridge the integration of the first movie into this one, and treats fans to some good ole’ service.
The screenplay, written and directed by Christopher Landon (who had previously worked on Paranormal Activity Two to Fice), is sharp and embraces tropes by delivering them to a level of perfection that’s not meant to be taken too seriously. Amidst the introduction of whole dimensional elements to the central plot line, the character journey proves worthy of your tears spilt by delving into themes of family and morality. It’s especially interesting, considering Christopher Landon could be the man behind the gargantuan time event in the Paranormal Activity franchise.
The cast is talented and robust, with characters of colour being used for comedic relief just as much as the rest of the cast is. Yes, the Chinese character Ryan (Phi Vu) is the guy in the team that is great at computer coding, but not in the clichéd way that Asian characters typically function in roles like those. The diversity easily goes unnoticed here putting many box-office films to shame.
Happy Death Day is a franchise for everyone, and it’s one that you should get into. Happy Death Day 2U opens a world of possibility for sequels, spin-offs, and prequels, and with the talent-packed team that’s on it, it’s a gratifying watch in a setting that’s casual but remarkable.
Here’s a great Valentine’s season movie. It’s beyond the momentary thrill of a desperate hand-hold at a jump scare; this feel-good feeling will ride with you all the way to your date’s doorstep ;).
Happy Death Day 2U is worth watching again, and again, and again, and…