For my review of the previous film, click the following link: HAPPY DEATH DAY (2017)
I ain’t the least bit surprised. And props to a great sequel title. Who says creativity is dead int he world of horror?
The story looks like it’s about Tree experiencing her GROUNDHOG DAY curse again, but maybe not experiencing it alone this time, and the killer isn’t the same this go-round.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Jessica Rothe (FOREVER MY GIRL  and LA LA LAND ), Israel Broussard (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of), Phi Vu (FIST FIGHT  and PITCH PERFECT 2 ), Rachel Matthews (the upcoming MS. WHITE LIGHT ), and Ruby Modine (upcoming films SATANIC PANIC  and AMERICAN DESERT ).
Now for the crew. Writing and directing is Christopher Landon, known for DISTURBIA (2007). Composing the score is Bear McCreary, known for HELL FEST (2018), REBEL/RYE (2017), THE FOREST (2016), and upcoming films THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN (2019) and GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS (2019). The cinematographer is Toby Oliver, known for BREAKING IN (2018), GET OUT (2017), THE DARKNESS (2016), and the upcoming THE DIRT (2019). Finally, the editor is Ben Baudhuin, known for COLOSSAL (2017), and the upcoming THE PERFECT DATE (2019).
Overall, I’m really looking forward to this. While I didn’t dislike the first flick, I thought it worked best when the movie wasn’t taking itself too seriously and letting the comedy be front and center. I’m happy to see that this flick is embracing what worked in the first one, so I can imagine liking this more. Won’t know until I see it, but I think I’m going to like this just fine.
This is my honest opinion of: HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U
Ryan (Phi Vu) thinks that his day is like any other, up until he finds out that his passion science project is being terminated by Bayfield University’s Dean Bronson (Steve Zissis) the following day. However, it turns out that Ryan has a stalker and ends up killing him. However, Ryan wakes up… in his car again, experiencing the same day over again. When he reveals this information to his roommate Carter Davis (Israel Broussard) and his kinda-but-not-really girlfriend Theresa “Tree” Gelbman (Jessica Rothe), who had experienced this effect herself and decides to help, and it’s revealed that Ryan’s Quantum device is what caused Tree’s initial loop in the first place. Determined to put an end to it, something goes wrong as the Dean attempts to stop it, the device unleashes energy, and Tree ends up waking up in bed… on the very same day that her initial loop kept her in on her birthday. Angered that device looped her back in, she attempts to force Ryan to fix the problem. However, it surprises Tree to discover that things are… somehow different… to an unprecedented degree. To the point where she’s in a completely different dimension. And as the differences pile up, and the mystery of a new killer thickens, Tree wrestles with the idea that she may not want to leave this new reality.
DISCLAIMER!!!!! Just a heads up to everyone about to read this, please bare in mind that it is almost impossible to talk about this movie without getting into spoilers. I’ll simply say that this is a 4/5 for me and that I recommend seeing it, especially if you liked the first one. As for everyone else, let’s get to it.
I’m probably in the minority here, but I like this movie a lot more than the first one. Not saying it completely overshadows it, of course, but I found this to be more enjoyable.
The first flick definitely saw its popularity, and I’d be lying if I wasn’t a part of it. However, I wasn’t always a fan of the movie when it took itself too seriously and thought it worked best when it was more of a comedy. Unless I remember it differently, the movie was, like, sixty percent serious, and forty percent comedy. However, this movie completely switches it around. The movie is, like, seventy-five percent comedy, and twenty-five percent drama. But the different here is that the drama is far more memorable and engaging than the previous film. Despite Rothe owning the movie and the writing being good enough to give her a relatively decent arc, Tree’s character wasn’t that compelling to start with. I know that’s the point, but that’s where this sequel comes in and takes what she learned and puts it all to the test and even further explores her character, improving on it.
As per usual with Rothe, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite up and coming actors within the last few years, she commands this movie just as effectively as she did the first. Once Tree reenters the loop, her anger is so over the top, but Rothe plays it so straight that you can’t help but laugh. Number one rule of comedy is that the character has be in some form of suffering, right? Even the number of ways that she kills herself to reset the day are pretty fun. Skydiving, falling off a roof on accident, being way too cheerful while drinking Penzoil, or whatever that was. But as I said before, the comedy isn’t the only thing that stands out. The drama does as well. Because Tree is in a new dimension where things are played out a little differently, like Carter is now dating Danielle (Rachel Matthews) and Tree’s mom Julie (Missy Yager) is alive. We know how much this affects Tree because her terrible attitude and treatment of everyone in the first movie really made her cynical and bitter toward the world. But now she’s faced with the very real possibility that she can live a life with her mother who was tragically taken from her. But then other possibilities start sinking in. She gets jealous of Carter and Danielle dating, making her realize how much he really means to her, and that she will have to give up that relationship for her mother. Another possibility is that she is also taking someone else’s life, and she’s debating if that’s fair of her as well, but you understand why it’s a hard decision.
I think there is at least one major problem with the movie and that’s the introduction of “other” people. Meaning, the movie introduces a second Ryan, who was trying to kill the original. This… admittedly feels like a pretty big excuse to try and go for another loop to put Tree in. To make matters worse, he never appears again. Sure, Tree and the science guys figure out the right equations to both send Tree back to her dimension, but also to put a stop to the loops altogether, but even once that’s resolved and she’s back where she left off… where did that clone go? I don’t think the movie ever addresses this.
And though I won’t necessarily count this as a true negative, I do find it frustrating that Tree doesn’t come face to face with the Tree that’s supposed to belong in this new dimension. Both Trees could have seen what they could be, seeing the positives and negatives of each other’s lives, and knowing that who they are is who they’re meant to be. I don’t know, I think that could have been an interesting moment.
But back on track, even the big twist on who the Babyface killer is doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Er, particularly, that it’s both Gregory Butler (Charles Aitken) and Stephanie Butler (Laura Clifton) that wanted Lori dead… if you’re confused, trust me, I am too. In retrospect, none of them make sense. What, Gregory has an affair with a student and… kills her for it? Sure, maybe he’s afraid that she’s going to tell his wife, but she seemed perfectly aware of it, and that she’s on board with killing Lori, it’s like… really? And then he kills her, wanting a divorce. Um… what was the point in any of this?! I won’t lie, this resolution gave me a serious case of whiplash.
Overall, sure, this movie has some problems and I can understand if someone didn’t like it as much as the first one, now that I’ve had some time to think about it as I wrote this review. But the truth is, anyone seeing this just wants to see Rothe be a great actress and see how many creative and charming ways Tree can die, to which both shine in glorious fashion. And because I had far more laughs in this movie than the previous, I can’t help but prefer this movie over the original. Despite this movie’s flaws, it’s still worth seeing, though I’m pretty sure a third installment may be ill advised, as I don’t think this idea has many more possibilities. I’ll see it if they make it, of course, but I’ll likely be pretty cautious and expect the worst. As is, though, fun movie.
My honest rating for HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U: 4/5
This week’s reviews:
Next week’s reviews:
- HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD
- RUBEN BRANDT, COLLECTOR