On the day of her birthday, Tree wakes up in strange guys room and as she navigates through the day, she soon learns it will be her last, as she is stalked and killed. Instead of dying she wakes up again, only to relive the day over and over. Tree begins to go through the list of people she has wronged, in an effort to find out who her killer is and why she is reliving the day. Directed by Christopher Landon, Happy Death Day stars Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Rachel Matthews, Charles Aitken, Jason Bayle, Phi Vu, and Donna Duplantier.
In Blumhouse we trust, as Jason Blum does it again. Takes a small budget, finds a creative director and produces an entertaining horror film. Blumhouse have produced such horror hits as Get Out, The Purge Series, The Conjuring Series and its spin offs. That’s where the charm in Happy Death Day lies, in its low budget, its self-awareness and its creativity. It is basically Groundhog Day, if Groundhog Day was a horror film, where Bill Murray was murdered at the end of the day. What is most interesting is the fact that Happy Death Day is just rated M (PG13) meaning the studio knew they weren’t going for an overly violent or sexual natured film, like the more popular horror films. As I said before, Blumhouse appears to know what it takes to make a financially successful film that is popular with both fans and critics.
Happy Death Day does a solid job with the blending of horror and a teenage mean girls movie, the large majority is spent with a bitchy teenage girl dealing with other bitchy teenage girls. In that regard it is a little cringy and uncomfortable, with the whole sorority setting, but is enhanced with the added element of a murderer trying to kill a bitchy sorority girl. That’s why the movie works. If it were to just be a teenage comedy/drama of an uptight college girl realising she wasn’t a good person it wouldn’t work. If it were just a slasher film of someone murdering college kids it wouldn’t work. Somehow bringing together these two films works fantastically.
The way the film goes about divulging the identity of the killer is really clever, as it bounces through all the people who might want Tree dead. For most of the film you will guess different people, despite this being a horror film, and the obvious answer is usually the correct one. Tree goes through several of her lives investigating all the potential killers, and just as she eliminates a suspect, she dies in a more violent way.
When I talk about the teenage element of Happy Death Day don’t be confused with the fantastic teenage element that was seen in Spider-Man: Homecoming. The teenage element is more in line with a movie like Mean Girls, where the main teenage girls aren’t very good people. Tree does go through a strong change of character, each time she relives the day, but the first few versions are really difficult to watch, for no other reason than she’s an awful person. The horror is fun, it relies more on jump scares than gore, which I personally prefer. Whilst not all the jump scares will hit, the movie itself does a decent job at scaring the audience in a fun way.
Happy Death Day appears to be another hit for Blumhouse, as they continue to print money. It may not have the same scares as IT or be as socially aware as Get Out but it is still a fun 90 minutes in the cinema. The movie is aimed more at a younger audience, potentially with the aim to draw a new generation into horror films, and if that is the case then I think the movie will be a success.
Fans of light horror movies, or teenage horror movies should give Happy Death Day a viewing. The average horror fan will enjoy it too.
Happy Death Day scores a 6/10
Thanks for reading my review of Happy Death Day. Does this movie interest you? Have you seen it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
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