Happy Death Day is directed by Christopher Landon and stars Jessica Rothe. The film is about a young girl (Tree Gelbman) who finds herself reliving the day of her murder and she soon begins to realise that the cycle will not stop until she reveals the identity of her killer. It’s what 1993’s Groundhog Day would have been, had it of gone for more of a slasher horror approach.
It’s essentially Groundhog Day meets Scream and that’s a comparison everyone seems to be making at the moment, but the reason for that is there simply isn’t a better one to be made. The film itself even seems to be aware of this and at one point a character directly references Groundhog Day. So it’s all very tongue and cheek, it never tries to go beyond this comparison formula and therefore, I don’t really think you can downgrade it for that.
It’s by no means a film that’s swimming in originality, but for the most part, everything’s executed to a good standard. I went into the cinema thinking it was probably going to be terrible and was shocked to discover that actually… it’s pretty good. While Happy Death Day may not be the kind of film to go crazy for, when it comes to your time and money, I can certainly think of much worse ways to spend it.
However, I wouldn’t recommend Happy Death Day if you’re looking for something scary to watch, because I don’t recall the film ever made me jump or feel any kind of fear for that matter. It’s definitely a case of trailers overstating the scare factor somewhat once again, so I wouldn’t recommend seeing it for that sole purpose.
It’s an entertaining film though which made me chuckle to myself a handful of times and even get a bit emotional, which I would never have called going into the film! Without spoiling too much, let’s just say there’s a scene towards the end between the lead character and her father. As someone who’s had a complicated and estranged relationship with their father in recent years, I don’t know, it just really resonated with me. In most films, you usually tend to root for the lead character from the get-go, but in the case of Tree Gelbman, she’s really not very nice. She starts off as one of these stereotypical sorority girls who appears to offer very little under the surface, she’s incredibly fake, stuck up and generally inconsiderate of others. But over time these events really do begin to shape her into being a better person.
So Happy Death Day is a perfectly competent popcorn movie, hopefully, they bring it to Netflix at some stage because I could see it going down really well on there. My main gripe with the film would have to be the ending, it kind of takes you in one direction which makes you feel as though a conclusion’s been reached, then continues to press on for another twenty minutes or so. If they’d just left it as it was without throwing in that last-minute plot twist, I can’t help but feel like the film would have been all the better for it. 7/10