It’s October, the time to celebrate and embrace all things fear. That includes lots and lots of horror movies. Whether it is at the movies or on Netflix and Amazon, horror movies get released quicker than usual. With this particular October, it just so happens that we get a Friday the 13th day as well. That particular combo doesn’t come around that often but when it does you can definitely expect a horror movie to be released on that day. That movie this year is called Happy Death Day. A play on words from Happy Birthday, Happy Death Day, is a horror comedy told in the same structure as the popular cult classic comedy Groundhog Day.
College girl Tree Gelbman, wakes up in a guy’s dorm room after a drunken night and navigates through her day like normal only it’s her birthday. That very evening she is attacked by a masked person who kills her with a knife. The next moment after her death she wakes up in the same dorm room she woke up in at the beginning of her day. She learns that after she died the day has reset itself and she is the only one who can remember what happened to her. She is now repeating the same day over again and it always ends with her dying. Now she has to repeat the day over and over until she can solve her murder and unmasked the killer.
I really enjoyed this film a lot. Director Christopher Landon, who is known for writing most of the Paranormal Activity movies and a couple of other suspense thrillers, takes a seat in the directing chair and gives us a fun, modern, and a twisty take on the genre of a slasher film. While the body count is pretty high, most of it is done to the same person. Genius! Since you are going to see a lot of the same scenes being played in front of you repeatedly it really counts on the person we are seeing this movie through to deliver a stellar performance to make these scenes seem different every time keeping our attention and entertaining us. Actress Jessica Rothe (LA LA Land), who plays are leading lady repeating her day does that job. She is a delight to watch as she is put through so many emotions of being scared, pissed, frustrated, happy, and also being a mean girl. This is a character when the movie starts, is not really a nice person. Some would say she deserves this situation to die again and again. Trust me she wins you over with her hit, one liners, and charisma she brings to each scene as she acts with all of her supporting stars.
This is a horror movie as well as a comedy so when it comes to the scares I think there are moments that will make you jump. Depending how you react to horror films, you may not get that suspense, edge of your seat tension because you know she will just repeat her day when she dies. The jump scares are there and some of them are really good. I think after all the deaths you see; the first death is probably the most stressful one because it’s the first one. The masked killer is wearing the mask of the school mascot which is this oversized head of a baby who is smiling rocking one tooth. They actually managed to pull of this mask to be scary paired with a black hoodie and complete silence from the killer. This movie also is a whodunnit so you are going to have the excitement of trying to figure out who is under the mask that has a desire to take out Tree on her birthday. Walking into this film, I didn’t even think twice about the rating of this movie and assumed it was rated R. This movie is actually PG13 but don’t let that bother you. The kills are creative and any lack of blood and gore doesn’t take away the horror factor.
While this all takes place on a college campus, you are going to encounter a lot of characters who do nothing but party, make fun of each other, and hear crude dialogue that will either come off too cheesy or just trying too hard to appeal to the younger generation. There are a couple of selected scenes in the movie that can be a bit troubling and a little offensive to watch. I had the pleasure of seeing this movie twice and the audience the second time didn’t seem that much into it versus the first time I saw the film. One thing that I noticed with the second audience was that there was a lack of laughs throughout this horror comedy. It also turns out that the loudest unison of laughter from these group of moviegoers came from a scene in the movie where one of the bitchy sorority girls pretended to be hearing impaired with imitating sign language and speaking in a tone of a hearing-impaired person. How that was the funniest joke to these folks I found troubling but to each their own. The other scene in question had to do with one of the death Tree goes through is in a dorm room in a frat house where a drunk college guy walks into the room in the middle of the killer on top of tree attempting to kill her. She screams for him to help and from his view it looks like she is asking for help from a person on top of her and he reacts by cheering him on and leaving the room assuming they were about to have sex without her consent. Not cool but you read the scene as you will.
Overall, this movie was a lot of fun. I loved the concept and the great acting it came with. Landon has my full attention now and I’ll be paying close attention to his work now past and future. Seeing this movie twice already this movie is rewatchable. You can either watch it to detect the clues left for you on solving the mystery of the identity of her killer, or watch it with friends who has never seen this before to gage their reaction. I can see this being one of those movies a group of people can watch together with drinks and just have a good time. I do recommend this movie and even though the idea of someone repeating their day over and over again just so they can become a better person, this movie still brings something new and interesting to the table.
5 out of 5
Anyone else plan on watching this movie. Comment your thoughts on the movie and the review. I want to hear from you and what other horror movies I should be watching this month. Thanks for reading my review and I’ll see you at the movies.