Happy Death Day 2U, 2019.
Directed by Christopher Landon.
Starring Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Phi Vu, Suraj Sharma, Sarah Yarkin, Rachel Matthews, Ruby Modine, Steve Zissis and Charles Aitken.
Tree Gelbman discovers that dying over and over was surprisingly easier than the dangers that lie ahead.
The first instalment of Happy Death Day was a mash-up of Groundhog Day and slasher horror and it was awesome. Its sequel goes further with the genre bending and includes a sci-fi twist and a lot more comedy. This time around Tree (Rothe) winds up stuck on Monday 18th again but this time in an alternate dimension. If it sounds a bit convoluted and confusing then that’s because it is, and yet despite the myriad of plot holes and problems the sci-fi element creates, Happy Death Day 2 U is so much fun to watch.
As with the first film, Jessica Rothe is fantastic as Tree Gelbman and what makes her so good is her commitment to the farce. Whether it’s taking part in a number of hilarious death scenes (a skydive sequence teased in the trailer is fantastic) or taking on the meatier material when it comes to dealing with family trauma, she holds the film together expertly. Her sass from the first film hasn’t diminished at all and the alternate dimension twist adds freshness to some characters we’ve already seen before. There’s also development for Phi Vu’s Ryan who played a small role in the original and now gets to play an integral role. His two sidekicks Samar (Sharma) and Dre (Yarkin) provide tons of comic relief which helps the bulging plot move along.
Whilst freshness isn’t something you’d expect from a film where the main character dies again and again, Happy Death Day 2 U does struggle at times with the repetitive formula. Whilst the deaths are just as (if not more) inventive than the first film, it fails to live up to the horror shenanigans of the first film. The added sci-fi element is interesting and adds context to what happened in the first film, but it feels almost as if they needed to bolt something else on so they could make a sequel. A mid-credits tease for the next film is believable but frustrating and makes you wonder how they’re going to shoehorn these characters into another film. With the studios focusing on franchising it isn’t surprising that so much effort is being put into this one. It’s fun, silly and there’s a lot of different ways you can inventively kill someone over the course of 90 minutes. I only hope that they keep the comedy and don’t go too stupid with the next one. Although to be fair if Jessica Rothe is back as Tree then I will be one of the first people to hand my money over.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★