Jessica Rothe leads the returning cast of HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U, the follow-up to Blumhouse’s (Split, Get Out, The Purge series) surprise 2017 smash hit of riveting, repeating twists and comic turns. This time, our hero Tree Gelbman (Rothe) discovers that dying over and over was surprisingly easier than the dangers that lie ahead. Jason Blum once again produces and Christopher Landon returns to write and direct this next chapter, while Happy Death Day executive producers Angela Mancuso and John Baldecchi are newly joined by EP Samson Mucke (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse).
What We Thought:
I enjoyed Happy Death Day back in 2017. It wasn’t a classic or anything, but it was fun enough for a PG-13 flick. It was Groundhog Day, but with murder. It made too much money on such a low budget that a sequel had to get made so here we are with Happy Death Day 2U.
So what do I think of the sequel? It’s fun enough as well. Because the first film is so repetitive they couldn’t make the exact same movie so this time they added more of a science fiction element to it than horror. Jessica Rothe’s character Tree is stuck in a time loop again where her death restarts her day, but this time it’s science based. She got out of her loop in the first film, but a science experiment puts her into the multiverse where her day repeats again, but with different characters involved. Some of the same characters from the first film, her sorority sisters, her dad, her love interest Carter, his roommate Ryan and others are there, but they aren’t exactly the version of themselves she knows from her universe.
That sounds a lot more complicated than it is and it’s easy enough to follow. Plus with Tree repeating her day, it explains what’s happening to her enough to understand. There isn’t as many cool kills in this because it’s more science based than horror, but there are a few that stand out. I won’t spoil them though because they are good for a laugh.
I think that’s why this movie and the franchise itself works because it balances out humor and horror to entertain the audience. Usually PG-13 horror doesn’t do anything for me, but because these are more of a comedy than slasher, the balance works out in the overall entertainment value.
The franchise also works because of Jessica Rothe. I know she was in La La Land (which I saw obviously) but I really only know her from these films. She is absolutely delightful and very easy to watch. Yes she’s very good looking, but she handles physical comedy extremely well to go along with her leading lady looks. In two movies that have repetitive scenes/storylines, it could get boring quickly but Rothe is so easy to watch and root for, the movie doesn’t feel dull. The sequel feels like the same movie, but at the same time it doesn’t. There are enough changes to make this film stand on its own legs, but definitely see the first film if you haven’t already. I you have seen the first film film, I also suggest rewatching it before seeing this one so you can be reminded of a few things and characters.
Happy Death Day 2U, like the first film, isn’t a classic in the making, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t entertained. Rothe makes this franchise way better than it has any right being. If you liked the first film, you should like this one as well. If you haven’t seen the first film, again, watch it before seeing this one.