Happy Death Day (2017) Movie Review

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Summary: A college student must relive the day of her murder over and over again, in a loop that will end only when she discovers her killer’s identity.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. Since Tree keeps living the day over and over again, we meet a lot of people but there are really only two constants that I’m going to talk about for the film.
  • Jessica Rothe as Theresa “Tree” Gelbman. Our main character, she wakes up in a dorm room, not really sure what happened the night before. She goes through her day, it’s her birthday but she doesn’t particularly want to celebrate it. But on her way to a party, she gets killed and her day restarts. So, throughout the film, she basically keeps trying to prevent the death, but gets killed. She is not the nicest person at first and while I never really wanted her to die, you kind of get it. Plus, you start making lists of who might want to kill her considering how indifferent she is to people. But as the film continues, you begin to understand her and watch as she becomes more and more desperate. She gets smarter in how she handles things, kind of and she tries to do right by others because it could make a difference. It was really cool watching her try and solve the problem, while also becoming a bit badass in the end. I thought Jessica Rothe did a great job in basically having the film on her own. Between her comedic timing, her reactions to dying and everything else, I very much enjoyed watching her in this film.
  • Israel Broussard as Carter Davis. Nice guy, Tree wakes up to him every time since it’s his dorm room she wakes up in. He took her back to his place because she was wasted, and he didn’t want anything to happen to here. There are a few times where she tells him what happened to her and he tries to help, and each time he’s understanding. He’s a great guy. I liked him quite a bit. The actor is likable, and he has good chemistry with Jessica Rothe, and he quickly becomes a nice friend for her.
Thrilling. It’s not scary, I didn’t think it would be, but it’s very thrilling. You know that the killer is behind her, or in the bathroom or whatever, and it’s creepy but it’s very thrilling to watch. When she thinks she’s figured it out, or when she’s testing out the suspects on her list, it’s entertaining to watch. I mean, her dying isn’t but the whole process is. There were times where I was legit freaked out, especially in the beginning when she first gets killed, that whole thing with the music box, creeped out, plus the whole idea with the baby mask. I would never go to a college where the mascot was a Baby. No thanks.
The Deaths. I thought it was really cool to see her wake up feeling or reacting to whatever her death was the night before. When this kind of stuff happens, it’s usually just them waking up with a gasp and thinking about what happened, but Tree would wake up screaming, or spitting out whatever to whatever happened that caused them to die, or if she was angry at dying, she would angrily freak out. I quite liked how different that was compared to how other “time loop” movies handle the reset. It was also pretty unique how her body maintains her injuries even after she’s had a reset.
Humorous. It’s actually pretty funny. It’s kind of a slasher, horror film, but it’s also really funny and light-hearted in certain areas. Like when she starts trying to find out who’s killing her, or her interactions with other people when she walks back to her sorority house. It’s surprisingly funny. Jessica Rothe gets all that credit, well that and the writing but she’s great.
Cons:
Obvious Villain. I knew who it was from the beginning. Probably not supposed to be a secret but you totally know from the trailers and you definitely know. They do try to trip you up, but I was like “nah”. Plus, I thought the motivation was also really dumb, or at least really juvenile. Since I knew it was that person, I wondered what exactly the problem was, I knew it had something to do with Tree probably being mean, but still, lame motivation.
The Slasher Part. I think the movie is trying to wear a few different hats, but while the slasher part is in there, I don’t think it’s as important as some of the other things the movie wants to focus on. It’s definitely lacking considering how the first time through the day, it’s kind of scary but after that that particular tone is not the same anymore. So, it’s marketed as a horror film and while it starts out as one, it doesn’t maintain that tone.
Overall, I quite enjoyed Happy Death Day. I thought it was a fun, funny, thrilling movie with a great lead. Jessica Rothe was great to watch, she was energetic, charismatic and funny. I think the movie is surprisingly funny, I wasn’t really expecting to laugh the way I did. I don’t think the movie is a comedy by any means, but it does have a lot of humorous elements, like, I mean the killer wears a baby face mask, that’s funny (and creepy) and one of her deaths is with a bong hahaha. That’s funny.  I also enjoyed how the deaths were handled. While, Tree got a reset each day, it wasn’t like there was no repercussions for her, because she felt all of them and I thought that was very realistic compared to the “slate wiped clean” kind of thing. I do think the villain was obvious, not to mention the motivation for this whole thing was also really stupid. Also, why did she have a time loop anyway? I wish these time loop movies would allow for some kind of explanation other than the fact that it’s just happening. But I also think the slasher bit, or the horror bit of the film is lacking compared to how the movie made it out to be. The first time we meet the killer it’s intense and kind of horror like, but after that, it turns into a different kind of movie. But whatever, I had fun.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Happy Death Day? What did you think about it? Do you think it’s more of a “Dark comedy” or a “Horror Comedy”? Let me know your thoughts down below!
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