Happy Death Day: A Groundhog Day Adventure Through A Horror Plot
Review by Blake Haughton
When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I thought it was a joke. I never expected a studio to green-light a project about a girl trying to solve her own murder before it happens (which when I think about it that way, it seems more like what an action movie plot would be rather than a horror plot.)
Thankfully, my initial impressions were wrong, and Happy Death Day is an entertaining and engaging romp through a college sorority sister’s birthday, which also just happens to be the day she dies. During her first “life,” you see she's a real ice queen bitch, which opens up many, many options for people who might want to off her. Everything about our central heroine is a little pretentious, even down to her name, Tree (short for Teresa).
The first hour of the movie sets up pretty well the following second and third acts, and while it’s not exactly necessary to have characters have some conversations over and over, it made it interesting to see how certain events play out when Tree reacts differently. However, the method that allows Tree to restart after her many Game-Over's isn't fully explained in the story, which does drag it down a little. The phenomena actually isn't even questioned until everything done and over, so it's really just more of an Deus Ex Machina than anything.
The best thing about this movie in my opinion is the fact that it’s just serious enough to keep the plot engaging, but the remainder of the time it has some dark humor to keep it fresh, and to stop the overbearing nature of the premise from dragging the movie down.
The ending is very much worth the watch, since the resolution you expect to happen might come as a surprise. After watching all that Tree's gone through, it does hit particularly hard, especially if you don’t see it coming -- and, boy, is it not easy to guess.
All things considered, it’s not the greatest horror movie ever made, but it does go far on subverting tropes after making them normal for Tree just a “life” or so ago. While she begins as a scared and rather helpless girl, she does eventually become smarter, and less of a bitch. She has a true arc and it's entertaining to watch her progression. Most of the time, that’s where stories of this type tend to fall apart, and this film holds up pretty well.
Final score: 3.5 murders of yourself outta 5.
What did you think of Happy Death Day? We want to know. Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments section below, and as always, remember to viddy well!