Written and Directed by Christopher Landon
Starring Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Suraj Sharma, Steve Zissis, Phi Vu
When the original Happy Death Day arrived in 2017, it felt like a horror comedy Groundhog Day. It’s star, Jessica Rothe had good energy, but there was little more going for it than that. The fact that the sequel’s commercial looked more entertaining was surprising, given that the entire cast was returning. The idea of a sequel seemed a stretch until we see the first few minutes with Phi Vu’s Ryan Phan. The guy who looked like a brain dead stoner in the first film turns out to be a young scientist working on an experimental quantum reactor.
This should be shocking, but when he turns up dead a few frames later, we discover that he is now in the loop. It’s easy to see what’s been causing this cycle by now, even if they don’t stretch too hard to figure out who is picked to repeat the lives and deaths.
This time around, the murderer is pretty much a foregone conclusion. Just take the person you thought it would be the first time and add a twist and your most the way there. This is irrelevant, however. The main thrust of the film is not about slashers or motives, but getting things set right for Rothe once more.
The characters are razor thin in terms of development outside of her Tree. What they are not is disposable. They have an eagerness to help out Tree, even when it’s always the first day they are meeting her every day. Each of the actors go for it with everything they’ve got and it makes it more fun than one should expect.
Rothe, though, is the biggest advantage the film has going for it. Her energy works with the twist, as she labors through the ludicrous events and decides to play ball. The result are many intriguing “resets” and some which are absolutely hilarious.
The film doesn’t try really hard to make sense, other than to show us that Tree still has some hugging and some incredible learning to do. They don’t try to hide the idea that they’re onto something either, with a mid-credits scene that pushes the idea that the loops will be continuing on a grander scale.
The obvious fun that the cast is having works its way into the viewers, to the point where every moment feels like a party. This is one of those times that they turned chicken shit into nice pizza salad. It doesn’t have to make sense, because, you know, it’s pizza.
(*** out of *****)