New movie incorporates other sub-genres, but does not deliver full potential
Warning: This article contains spoilers
Throughout the years many horror movies have been retreading the same plot and characters. A killer chases a group of teenagers and murders them one by one –sound familiar?
After a while it can start to feel as if the viewer is watching the same thing over and over again. This concept is played with in the new horror-comedy “Happy Death Day.”
“Happy Death Day” is a unique film that uses a plot device that has been done numerous times before. The movie is essentially the classic Bill Murray film “Groundhog Day” with a horror twist. Not only is the main heroine living the same day over again, but she is also being chased by a serial killer.
The movie is produced by the independent company Blumhouse Pictures, the creators of huge horror movie successes such as “Paranormal Activity”, “Get Out”, and “Sinister.” It is directed by horror director newcomer Christopher Landon. Is “Happy Death Day” the triumphant Halloween season film Blumhouse expects it to be? Well, the answer is kind of.
The story centers around college student Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) on her birthday. She begins her day waking up in Carter Davis’ (Israel Broussard) bed after a heavy night of drinking. Tree leaves his dorm after not recalling ever meeting Carter.
Tree continues her day and later goes home to her sorority to get ready for a party later that night. On the way to the party Tree becomes aware that she is being stalked by a mysterious knife-weilding person wearing a baby mask. After a long chase, Tree eventually gets killed by the assailant, but that is only the beginning of the story.
After clearly dying Tree wakes up in Carter’s bed once again, only to discover she is living the same day over again.
It soon becomes obvious that she will relive this day over and over again until she discovers who her killer is–and with Tree not being the most liked person on campus the suspects are endless.
The best way to describe Happy Death Day is that it’s “Mean Girls” meets “Groundhog Day” meets “Friday the 13th. ”.It’s an idea that sounds amazing. However; the film does not balance these three concepts, making it ultimately very messy.
The plot of the movie is at first very entertaining and fun, but as the movie goes on it is evident that there are a lot of missed opportunities the film did not make, eventually making the ridiculous and interesting plot feel like a gimmick.
Although a comedic homage to the slasher sub-genre, the film begins to become too predictable and cliche making it become boring in some parts.
However; in what the film fails with in horror it succeeds in with comedy. The script is surprisingly funny and filled with likable and exaggerated characters that breathes life into the movie.
For instance, Rothe does an excellent job and shows her true comedic talent. Rothe also provides a multi-layered performance making a possibly unlikable character extremely likable.
Although, I did not love this movie, with a PG-13 rating I could see a wide audience of people, especially middle schoolers and high schoolers, loving this movie.
Overall, “Happy Death Day” is not great, but it is also not bad by any means.
It provides some truly great set pieces and some very fun scenes. The movie can drag and even feel dumb at times, but the performances and originality of the script makes it watchable and ultimately enjoyable.
I don’t recommend running out and seeing this film in the theatres, but I do think it’s a great movie to rent on a night you have nothing to do.