‘HAPPY DEATH DAY’ Review
Paramount got cold feet after Rings bombed and, because of that failure, another Friday the 13th is upon audiences with no Jason stalking the multiplexes. But thanks to Blumhouse, horror fans have a reason to celebrate the thirteenth day of the month with Happy Death Day.
Tree (Jessica Rothe) wakes up Monday morning in a dorm room bed with a hangover from hell. She can’t remember the name of the guy (Israel Broussard) she went home with. Tree’s walk of shame offers no reprieve. And most embarrassing is her roommate, Lori (Ruby Modine) found out today is Tree’s birthday. Luckily she’s able to shake off the cobwebs before the big party. On her way to the party someone in a mask kills her. Tree wakes up only to relive her birthday only to be killed at the end of the night. And each death is taking its toll on her body. Can Tree figure out the identity of the masked killer or will her next death be her last?
Happy Death Day has no qualms about being the horror version of Groundhog Day. Of course it’s a gimmick, but to pitch a slasher and have almost every death be the same character is clever. And that is half the fun, no matter how much Tree tries to outsmart the killer, she fails and has to do it all again. Unfortunately the third act doesn’t quite stick the landing. When revealed, the killer’s motivation rings hollow. It’s easy to forgive because the journey is so fun.
There’s a vibrancy to Happy Death Day that feels so refreshing in mainstream horror. I think that should be credited to the cast. Jessica Rothe is wonderful as Tree and her transformation from self absorbed college student to ass kicker is the core of the movie. Israel Broussard’s Carter does well with a role that could have been set decoration. Even the Alpha Sorority Sister played by Rachel Matthews is game even if she verges on being a caricature.
Don’t let the PG-13 rating keep you from checking this one out. A movie can be fun and engaging and work on a lot of levels without being R. Demand quality from the genre not just more gore. Happy Death Day could very well be someone’s gateway to the horror genre. And hopefully in the morning you won’t be reliving the same day over again and again.
Clever script and a cast that is willing to play along with the tone of the film.
Reveal of the killer.