‘Happy Death Day 2U’ Takes You Back 2 The Future (Movie Review)

Happy Death Day 2UHappy Death Day 2U is the sequel everyone saw coming.  The Universal cash gods demanded it.  You know you wanted it too.  Now you got it!  Quite frankly I couldn’t be happier having been assigned to cover this feature.  Truth be told though I initially dismissed the first Happy Death Day off its theatrical trailer as a modern day ripoff of Groundhog Day, which coincidentally I guess you could say the same thing about the time loop flick Edge of Tomorrow (also known as Live Repeat Die).  However, I digress as I never said I make the best decisions in life.  While Happy Death Day does utilize the familiar Groundhog Day formula it does so with a slasher twist to it all that us horror moviegoers eat up like buttered popcorn and sugary Twizzlers.  Need I say more about why it was made and for whom?  I think not.  Instead let’s allow my review of it all down below do the talking from here on out.

Happy Death Day 2U

Happy Death Day 2U is once again directed by Christopher Landon (he wrote it too). It stars the same familiar actors from the first film such as Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Phi Vu, Suraj Sharma and Ruby Modine. It once again follows the character Tree Gelbman (Rothe) who just so happens to be reliving the same day over again. Stop me if you heard this one, but she’s also being hunted by a masked assailant in a baby mask. Does that sound ultra familiar to you? Don’t worry because it does to me too! But wait! There are twists and deviations to the original formula. You’re just going to have to trust me there.

I guess what I’m most happiest about with Happy Death Day 2U is the fact that it could have easily done a Hangover II, repeated the same exact formula and called it a day. Heck I would have. You’re going to make money either way here, right? So instead of the same old they do the same old here with many twists. I don’t want to spoil anything for you so I’m going to tread lightly on any major plot points. Basically what they did here was just like in Back to the Future II they continue almost immediately where the original film left off giving it an ultra sense of familiarity from the very get-go. It also conveniently gives the filmmakers here a chance to explain how the time loop occurred in the first film. Now I can see both the good and bad here. Purists who love the first film probably don’t want an explanation, but sorry folks you’re getting one.

Happy Death Day 2U

As stated already up above Happy Death Day 2U sees Tree unexpectedly re-entering a time loop doomed to live the same day over and over. This time though it’s explained how and why. And guess what? In typical sequel fashion the stakes are elevated here. She must not only uncover the identity of the new baby faced killer, but also save her friends that are being targeted too. The reason being is if she closes the time loop and her friends get murdered on that fateful day, then its sadly game over for them. Tree has come a long way maturity-wise since the first film. She actually has a heart and doesn’t want to see her friends die. Coincidentally that sentiment also includes her cupcake wielding friend, Lori Spengler, from the first film. Again though I don’t want to spoil anything here even for the folks who may have not seen the first entry. I’ll leave it at that.

What works for me here is the comfortably factor of being around most of the characters we love and cherish from the first film. Everything you loved about them in the first installment you can equally adore about them here. The characters are also more fleshed out and developed. We also get some new fresh faces too, but mostly they serve as comedic relief. The twists presented here are what make this second entry not a complete retread of the first. In other words like I said up above this not simply a Hangover II, but instead its a HangoverPlus.” What I mean by that is they rehash most of the gags and even storylines from the first, but go in complete polar directions to distance itself. However, they never lose that familiar base formula we all know and love. And yes I can honestly say our protagonist here has to die repeatedly to solve the time loop again. Some of the dying to reset the day gags are rather quite funny.

Happy Death Day 2U

Now lets tackle where I think people are going to have the most problems with this sequel. Obviously the same people who hated Rob Zombie bringing the disturbing young Michael Myers to light are going to hate the fact that they explain the events of the first rather than leave it shrouded in mystery. Look you just cant please all. I get that. However, I think the biggest complaint we will see is well at times this one does get a bit boring. It’s not that I don’t like the formula its just that since the first film Tree has grown up a lot. She has a huge heart and well she’s not the mean beeotch we all love from the first installment. She’s even torn whether or not she even wants the time loop closed in the current predicament she finds herself in. You see what we saw go down in the first film doesn’t exactly happen the same way in this second. So there’s that too. I guess you can say I see people having a beef with the new sentimental Tree and the many emotionally draining moments we spend with her here. This one is far from the slasher roots of the first movie. Far!

I ultimately think the departure from the fanfare of the first film, its slasher roots, is going to lose some here. That coupled with the fact that there’s a reason the first film happened and its explained to you is kind of a turn off. It’s actually a bit absurd so make sure you do everything possible to keep your suspension of disbelief ticking. For me I had such a blast spending more time with these characters that I care about so much from the first movie (also being a big fan of it helps too) that I was able to set aside my differences and survive the many lulls. After all, if you ask me, its kind of fun to be able to die and reset the day. I’m sure given the choice many of us would agree. Thus the gimmick or the concept here and even the remote possibility of what could come from a third film (kind of teased in a mid credits zinger) is enough to keep me an invested, paying fan of the franchise. Can I have another helping please? Enjoy!

Happy Death Day 2U


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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