Horrorible Review: “Happy Death Day 2U”

Happy Death Day 2U movie poster

Happy Death Day 2U

As you can surmise from the title, this is a sequel to a cute movie, Happy Death Day, which begins with a nifty punny title and proceeds to give the viewer a much gorier version of Groundhog Day. Sorority girl Tree wakes up repeated on the same morning in the dorm room of some dufus called Carter. Ten seconds later Carter’s dweeb roomie shows up and freaks to see a gorgeous, half dressed woman in their room. By the end of the evening, Tree has been murdered again by someone in a big, round baby doll mask, the school mascot as it turns out. Much like Groundhog Day, Tree wakes up again and again, fully remembering being killed. It’s a funny little film with some mildly clever ideas and fun death scenes. I had never heard of it before seeing the trailer for Happy Death Day 2U, which looked really funny so I figured I needed to start at the beginning.

Of course Tree’s problem is solved by the end of the first movie, or at least she thinks that until she wakes up one more time in Carter’s room. This time there is more focus at first on minor characters from HDD, especially Ryan the roomie, who is a dweeb because he’s a brilliant physicist masquerading as a loser. He and his team have been playing with the space-time continuum, and Tree was the repeated victim. Once Ryan remembers being killed the night before, Tree takes over figuring out who is doing it, and why she’s not the target anymore.

This is where the film makes a big ole twist that was moderately funny for a moment, but not used very well by the filmmakers. Then there’s another twist, and another. The filmmakers got themselves so twisted up they lost track of what’s going on, and the logic gets sloppy, with Tree explaining at one point that she was killed eleven times (in the first movie), which really didn’t make a lot of sense. How does she learn enough minute detail to save herself from only eleven deaths? One plot hole in HDD2U was so large I could never get over it.

They also lost sight of what kind of film they were making. HDD2U veers away from the Groundhog Day story to some kind of hybrid that’s not as funny, trying to do too many other tropes and diluting all of them. The Scream scenes weren’t jumpy enough, especially because you know anyone who is killed comes back the next day, the do-over scenes weren’t frequent enough, and the Ferris Bueller principal-bashing was entirely lame.  Even working through Tree’s moral dilemma lacked depth because it’s too obvious she makes the wrong first choice, mostly because there’s still forty five minutes of film left.

HDD2U isn’t a horrible movie, it’s not even a bad one. But it’s nowhere near as good as the first one. The actors are all charismatic and cute and the special effects are well done. The kills scenes are still clever, but there aren’t enough of them because of the fewer do-overs.  Definitely see the first film because it’s fun all the way through, but you’re taking a chance seeing this second one because it’s a bit of a jumbled mess.

LINKS:

Happy Death Day 2U – Official Trailer (HD)

 

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