In Theaters: Happy Death Day 2U

Happy Death Day 2U (2019)
Directed By: Christopher Landon
Written By: Christopher Landon, Scott Lobdell

Happy Death Day was the surprise of 2017. A PG-13 slasher film that borrowed it’s premise from Groundhog Day. I thought it was a brilliant concept but didn’t actually expect it to be good. Imagine my surprise when I finally saw it. It was a smart, entertaining, 90 minute movie that could only be described as fun. There was no doubt a sequel would be coming. I was skeptical that the formula would work again.

Leave it to director Christopher Landon and the fine folks at Blumhouse to prove me wrong once again. Happy Death Day 2U isn’t quite as scary as the original movie but it is just as much, if not more, entertaining. The tone of the movie has shifted from being a straight horror film to a combination of science fiction, horror and comedy. Don’t mistake that for me saying it doesn’t have plenty of death. The body count is pretty low but the number of death scenes is extremely high as Tree keeps dying again and again, just like in the original.

Christopher Landon is carving out a solid career as a horror director, starting with 2014’s Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones. He seems to have found his niche with horror-comedy films. He followed The Marked Ones with Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse and these two movies. His ability to balance both horror and comedy is apparent.

One thing that sequels tend to get wrong is when they try to up the stakes. It’s a natural step for a franchise to take but often they try to do too much and end up ruining the film in the process. That doesn’t happen here. Happy Death Day 2U does indeed raise the stakes but not so high that they lose sight of the spirit of the original. I don’t want to delve too much into the plot because it is rather involved and I would hate myself for spoiling it for anyone.

Both of these films really relied on the cast to carry them. Luckily, the entire group is top notch. The majority of the cast from the first film is back along with a few new people and I can’t think of anyone who could be considered a weak link. Special notice has to be given to Jessica Rothe. As great as her supporting cast is, if she is anything shy of exceptional as Tree, neither movie works at all. She is just as good here as she was in Happy Death Day. At times she is required to be scared, others she’s pissed off and sometimes she is extremely sad and Rothe makes you believe it every second of the way.

I know that there are a lot of people who refused to give Happy Death Day a chance because of it’s dreaded PG-13 rating. I also know that there are people who went to see it and genuinely disliked it. I believe that most people, like myself, were pleasantly surprised by it. Whatever you thought of the first film, this one is not going to change your mind. I would guess that you will have the exact same opinion the second time around. For me, and a lot of others, that’s great news. Happy Death Day 2U is a success in every possible way that it could be.

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