Friday, February 15, 2019

Movie Review: Happy Death Day 2U

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Character growth, fun
Cons: If you expect formula, you’ll be highly disappointed
The Bottom Line:
What caused the time loop?
Tree learns as she loops again
Genre blending film

“Who Picks a Creepy Baby as a Mascot?”

I really enjoyed Happy Death Day, although the movie left one thing open – how exactly did Tree (Jessica Rothe) get stuck in the time loop that kept her dying over and over again?  That is one of the first things addressed in the sequel, Happy Death Day 2U.  But the answer to that is just the beginning.

The movie actually opens with Ryan (Phi Vu) as he wakes up in his car for the second day in a row.  He slowly makes his way back to his dorm room only to find that Tree is once again in the room he shares with his roommate Carter (Israel Broussard) only this time, the two are making out.  However, a phone call from his friends and research partners Samar (Suraj Sharma) and Andrea (Sarah Yarkin) sends him from the room over to their lab.  His elation at their news is short lived, however, when the Baby Face Killer puts in another appearance, and Ryan is killed….

Only to wake up in his car again.  Can the gang figure out what is going on now?

My teaser only covers about the first 15 minutes or so of the film.  After that, it spins off in some fun and surprising ways.  So if you are worried that we will have a rehash of the first movie in any way, shape or form, you can relax.  In fact, the Baby Face Killer becomes a sub-plot here, with most of the deaths being self-inflicted in order to reset the timeline.

I highly recommend you see the first movie first.  While there is a very helpful recap at the beginning, if you haven’t seen the first one, you might be lost.  This movie opens seconds after the first one ends, and continues the story right away, so it assumes you have a working knowledge of what has happened to the characters and even who they all are.

As I already hinted out before, this is much less of a horror movie than it is a science fiction story.  There are a couple of decent chase sequences that will get your heart pumping, but they aren’t the focus of the film.  Instead, the focus is on the science fiction that started these loops in the first place.

And there’s comedy.  No, this isn’t a laugh a minute film, but there are plenty of jokes and laugh out loud moments as Tree and her friends race to fix what has been set in motion.

Yes, I keep mentioning Tree on purpose.  Despite how my teaser set things up, Tree is still definitely the main character of the film.  It is her journey that pulls us into the action.  And she has some wonderful moments here as she struggles to deal with what is happening.  You probably don’t go to a slasher film to see character growth and be close to tearing up at one point, but that’s exactly what we get here, and the movie is better for it.

Needless to say, the acting calls for quite a bit of range.  While a couple scenes are a little weak, most of the acting is perfect no matter whether we are getting technobabble, comedy, character growth, or a chase scene.

And I was on the edge of my seat multiple times as the movie progressed, just not always because a character was being stalked.

There is a scene half way through the credits that not only explains the one plot hole I was thinking of as I watched the final scene, but also provided one final laugh.  You’ll definitely want to stay around long enough to see that.

Happy Death Day 2U is a genre blending film that is a lot of fun.  As long as you aren’t expecting the movie to fit any formulas, you’ll enjoy yourself.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. Originally, I had no interest in seeing Happy Death Day, although I'm now starting to get some interest in seeing it.