Movie Review: ‘Happy Death Day 2 U’

Director: Christopher Landon

Cast: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Phi Vu, Suraj Sharma, Sarah Yarkin, Ruby Modine, Rachel Matthews, Steve Zissis

Plot: The day after Tree escapes from a murderous time loop, Carter’s roommate Ryan begins experiencing the same phenomenon. He knows the source of the unusual event, but things quickly become complicated.

Review: Surprisingly complicated is not how I expected to describe this sequel. Keep in mind that ‘complicated’ isn’t quite the same as ‘complex’ though. We’re not going to spoil this one, because we feel that you have to experience this one to get a sense of the tone. We will say that it does something that both Aliens and Army of Darkness did with great success.

Does Happy Death Day 2 U attain the same success as those two classics? It’s hard to say because this is very much a bridging film. Like Alita: Battle Angel this movie is very intentionally part of a series. We need the complete picture to judge this film accurately.

The film opens on a weird note as Carter’s room-mate Ryan (Vu) positioned as the protaganist. He starts to experience the murder-chain loop suffered through by Tree (Rothe), and it’s filmed in a very similar way. There’s a bunch of distinctive characters to bring back time and time again, there’s the red herring jump scare combo…then it all changes. It’s only in hindsight but this was all a red herring itself. Sort of.

We can say for certain that if you’re looking for a retread of the first film you may not enjoy this one. The same comedic tone exists but they move in a very unexpected direction. It feels very intentional thanks to a recurring musical sting which makes their influences very clear.

Some of the most entertaining features of the original still exist. Rothe is a charismatic leading lady and Tree’s attitude elevates the material. She’s still plenty of fun to watch and has good comedic timing. The dark humour makes an appearance, again with a whacky montage. It’s just the framing device that has changed.

Rating: SIX out of TEN…pending how the next part shakes out.