Happy Death Day (2017)

I really wanted to see Happy Death Day when it came out because of the catchy title and good reviews I had read, but then, I don't remember why, I missed it and, like I always do, I forgot about it. And if it wasn't for the sequel released a couple of months ago, I still wouldn't have seen this.

The story follows Tree (Jessica Rothe), a self-centered college student and sorority sister who wakes up on the morning of her birthday with a terrible hangover, in the dorm room of a guy (Israel Broussard) she doesn't know. She quickly ditches him and goes on with her day. That night, on her way to a party, she is followed and killed by someone wearing a mask. Tree immediately wakes up in the same dorm room only to realise that she's living the same exact day. At first, she thinks she's experiencing deja vu but, when the night comes, she is killed again and yet again wakes up in the dorm room on her birthday, she realises she is stuck in a loop that will end only when she discovers who is trying to kill her.

Essentially, this is Groundhog Day with a horror twist as the young woman keeps reliving the same day over and over again until she discovers who the killer is and becomes a better person. Despite the repetitiveness, the story never gets dull nor predictable. On the contrary, it's very entertaining from start to finish and, although the ending and the killer's motive feel kind of rushed, the ending twist is a nice surprise.

The characters are a bit one-dimensional and stereotyped —the film's tone is never serious though so it's pretty clear the filmmakers are using them to poke fun at horrors and their clich├ęs— but they are likeable nevertheless, especially Tree, who is the typical high-fashion, snobby sorority girl you are supposed to hate and yet can't help but love. Her character development is quite predictable as she goes from rude, superficial and egocentric to nice and caring, but it's handled very well, specifically thanks to Jessica Rothe who gives an amusing performance as she convincingly delivers Tree's growth. Israel Broussard provides good support as Carter Davis, the guy in whose bed Tree wakes up and who gives Tree advice on how to fix her problem.

Universal Pictures
Rothe's performance isn't the only funny aspect in Happy Death Day, there also are some genuinely funny moments, absurd situations and some quirky dialogues. As for the horror, it is delightfully balanced with the comedy —there's no gore and the elements aren't particularly scary and yet they are effective. Also, the film has such a gloomy and creepy atmosphere, and the soundtrack really adds to it. Ultimately, this is a very entertaining film that will keep you hooked from start to finish.

3 comments :

  1. Great review! I liked this so much more than I thought I would too. I'm looking forward to catching the sequel.

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  2. This film was a total surprise as I just love how it plays with the cliches of horror as well as the fact that it knows it's not being original. Plus, Jessica Rothe is great in this as she just has that sense of charm and actually allows her character to grow and make us care about her.

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