Watched Date: 2/16/19
Now, I saw Happy Death Day 2U in theaters during its opening weekend, but I got caught up with other stuff to get this out there. The first Happy Death Day, released in 2017, really came as a surprise since it just looked like a dumb PG-13 horror movie with the premise of Groundhog Day that wasn’t gonna be scary. How dumb was I? It was a fun take on the premise, and it was mostly because of Jessica Rothe’s performance as the main character. I totally wished I saw it in theaters. Props to Blumhouse for a solid movie in their filmography. Now writer and director Christopher Landon has come back to throw our final girl into another time-loop. How exciting is that?
In this, this picks up immediately after its predecessor as Tree Gelbman (Rothe) is once again back reliving her birthday over and over again after being murdered by someone in a baby mask after getting transported to another dimension as a new killer is involved. But you have to wonder how would it be possible to make a sequel out of a premise like this. I was one of those people who didn’t think a sequel would be the best idea. Easy, make the same movie over again, but with explanations to carry it over. Does it work fully? Not all the time, but it still makes Happy Death Day 2U a watchable horror sequel, even if it doesn’t match up to anything like a Scream 2.
Rothe has really come into her own as the character of Tree. Now that she has been living the same day, it does give us a chance to care for her situation this time around. It’s really a performance that needed someone who did start as unlikeable at the beginning of the first movie and progressively became more liked later on. Rothe is a great actress, so why isn’t she in more movies since the first one came out? The chemistry between her and Israel Broussard’s Carter still remains attached as it was before.
Since Tree is back in this situation, it sucks for her. As it turns out, her roommate Lori (Ruby Modine) is alive and isn’t the killer, and Carter isn’t romantically involved not with her, but Tree’s sorority sister Danielle (Rachel Matthews), who appears to be nicer. But she tries to do the smart thing and remember what she did the first time around so she wouldn’t make the same mistakes. But now in this unfamiliar environment where everything around here is almost different.
For some reason, it seems like they needed to throw in the science fiction element and explain why Tree keeps looping back. With the help of Ryan Phan (Phi Vu), who had the same effect as Tree, and his geek friends (Suraj Sharma, Sarah Yarkin), they need all the help as possible to put an end to all of this. They actually referenced Back to the Future Part II to explain what’s going on. Props to them for making this sequel a bit self-aware. But the plot mostly follows the familiar beats to almost the same, which can be described as derivative, and it’s understandable. Once again, there happens to be another death montage; the only different thing is that it’s playing Paramore’s “Hard Times” over it with the death scenes that were better than the last movie. However, it does change a few things that felt different or were unpredictable to see here.
Happy Death Day 2U seems to go moreover as a comedy rather than going the slasher trait this time again. And it’s a bit hard trying to know what this was going for. Because not a lot of the humor hits and it doesn’t clash with the horror element work either when it doesn’t turn out to be scary in the slightest. I was expecting that same tone from the first film to be in here, and it’s barely in here. Don’t think of this as a straight-forward horror movie this time around.
When it goes for those dramatic moments where the story needed to go for the emotional route, they worked. Not to where it made me tear up, but I can see that it was trying to have its sentimental values unexpectedly as Tree knows more about herself as this day goes on.
Overall, Happy Death Day 2U managed to be an enjoyable enough horror sequel that Landon was only capable of not screwing up. If you’re like me and thought the first one was fun to watch, the chances of having the same reaction look about right, as long as you can handle how ridiculous this can get. After seeing this, I can kind of sense that this will become the next Scream franchise for a while. For the record, they do set up a possible third installment, and it’s something I could be interested in. Let’s just see how that will turn out if it’s ever going to be planned. If this comes on TV in the next year or so, I’m willing to check it out whenever it’s on. Just have fun and try to embrace its silliness.
Overall Grade: B-