Happy Death Day

Happy Death Day

(2017)

Jessica Rothe (La La Land) plays a sorority sister who, after waking up with a hangover in someone else's dorm room, must relive the same day over and over until she figures out who is trying to kill her and why. From the director of Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse.

Flicks Review

Happy Death Day is a weird film. Starting off like a Scream-type slasher, it veers unexpectedly into straight-up comedy early on, complete with a jaunty musical montage of the lead actress getting murdered over and over.... More

Groundhog Day meets Halloween’ is an interesting pitch, and to its credit the movie keeps the plot relatively twisty. You need to make it through the reasonably dire first act but once that montage hits all bets are off and the tone pings around from horror to comedy to weepy drama and so on.

The film really leans into its influences too, giving Jessica Rothe’s bizarrely-named ‘Tree’ a redemptive arc that you can see coming a mile off (around the first time she calls one of her sorority sisters ‘bitch’). At one point a character literally name-checks the Bill Murray classic, and it’s as awkward as you’d imagine.

If you’ve ever seen a horror film you’ll figure out who the killer is very early on, but Happy Death Day veers down so many unexpected avenues on the way it never feels like a chore. It’s buoyed by an affable performance by Rothe, who is up for whatever silliness the script requires from her, by the end morphing into an admirably kickass ‘final girl’ (all the other girls were her too). Her presence goes a long way to making the film watchable, at least.

There’s also some social commentary inserted in there too, notably anti-fat shaming and talk of embracing ones sexuality. It’s another random element in a film made up of them, but… good on them?

Happy Death Day has enough glimmers of inspiration to hope for good things from the filmmakers next time, and Rothe is fun. It’s a pleasant enough time-waster, but it’s hard to recommend.Hide


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The Press Reviews

  • Far more entertaining and original than the title and the marketing are really hinting at. Nice job all round. Full Review

  • It's Groundhog Day meets Scream, although lacking the first film's novelty and the latter's postmodern smarts. Full Review

  • "Happy Death Day" is "Groundhog Day" dipped in blood, and if the movie isn't all that clever, it's just clever enough to get by. Full Review

  • Although concentrating on delivering easily digestible situations and scene progressions, Landon does demonstrate some enticing visual flair that gets rather diminished by the repetitiveness of the plot. Full Review

  • In a genre filled with countless tales of unhinged killers stalking and slaying pretty young things, part of Happy Death Day's appeal stems from both leaning into and playing with the usual tropes. Full Review

  • The movie is no big deal, but its Groundhog Day conceit is kind of irresistible, and the genre blend seems right for this age of women seeking stability and empowerment. Full Review

  • Becoming a decent person requires an awful lot of dying in "Happy Death Day," a snappy horror-comedy with a gentle romantic spine. Full Review