Following the surprising success of 2017 Happy Death Day by Blumhouse, it was only a matter of time until the moment we would’ve gotten a follow-up to that movie.
The first Happy Death Day had an estimated $4,800,000 budget and, purely based on its theatrical distribution, has grossed $56,300,000. It’s another example of Blumhouse doing business right: they invest as little as they can to make a film and, thanks to their formula and marketable trailers, most of their movies are financially super successful. Unlike other Blumhouse flicks, though, the original HDD was also welcomed with positive reviews and enthusiastic reactions. Which basically means: you can take the template and make as many sequels as you like.
Happy Death Day 2U is written and directed, once again, by Cristopher Landon and stars Jessica Rothe, alongside the main cast of the first movie. Despite having broken the Groundhog Day-like curse at the end of the previous film, Tree (Rothe) finds herself trapped again in the eternal loop. This time, however, certain things from her everlasting day have changed: some of them are minor discrepancies, some others are totally different.
Continue reading and check my final grade below…
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Reusing the same exact concept of the 2017 movie might seem extremely lazy and uninspired, but the director switched things around this time in a way that Happy Death Day 2U seems genuinely like a new viewing experience, all the while maintaining the core of its predecessor: there’s the same set of characters, same locations, quite a few references to the self-awareness of the original.
The biggest difference between this sequel and the first film, however, revolves around the tone. Even though both of them could be classified as horror-comedies, this new movie is almost entirely a geeky 80s high-school comedy throwback. All the characters crack jokes at an insanely fast pace and the expansion of the Happy Death Day universe, if you will, opens the doors to new characters that seem to be in the story just for comedic relief.
Does the humour work, then? I honestly don’t know. Humour is very subjective, so it depends on what you find funny. Let’s put it this way: if you laughed and were entertained by the jokes in the original, then this sequel will entertain you and make you laugh as well. I personally chuckled a couple of times in the theatre, but I found the rest of the comedic moments rather cringe-worthy. On the other hand, Happy Death Day 2U is very self-aware, even more so than the original, which definitely makes it easier to forgive its failures when it comes to being humorous.
Yet, the horror elements are relegated to loud noises and fake jump-scares. If you’re looking for a scary movie, this filmmaking decision might make you roll your eyes quite a bit, but if you expect to watch just a silly comedy, the lack of tense and frightening moments shouldn’t bother you too much.
Although the characters are one-dimensional, with the exception of the lead girl, the actors do a solid job at portraying them. Besides a couple of extras, all the main characters are either likeable or entertaining, which definitely helps to get through those scenes that fail to be amusing. However, Jessica Rothe really did an outstanding job this time, given the lines and script she had to work with. She shows a wide range of emotions in the movie, she’s charismatic and badass, she truly owns the role. Although her dialogue is quite dumb and annoying at times, Rothe manages to pull it off. In other words, she’s really the glue that holds this movie together, in my opinion.
On a technical level, Happy Death Day 2U isn’t better nor worse than the original. Everything feels competently made and shot, but the overall movie lacks in style and creativeness, just like most of the other Blumhouse flicks.
Yet, the biggest issue with the film is that, while trying to expand this universe and go a different direction, the plot becomes very convoluted and stumbles across some scientific nonsense in regard to other dimensions and timelines. As a result, many scenes come off as pointless moments, filled with incorrect and stupid scientific mumbo-jumbo.
The original wasn’t a clever movie, obviously, but at least it was able to hide its inconsistencies by not giving a lot of screen-time to explanation. In Happy Death Day 2U they try to make things more realistic by giving them a scientific base, but that only worsens the overall consistency and continuity of the film. Also, this “realistic approach” clashes with some downright absurd sequences, such as (no spoilers, it’s in the trailer) when Tree jumps off a plane wearing just her underwear: how is she semi-naked on a plane? How did she get there? Why did no one stop her? How the hell did she fall in the exact spot she wanted to get to? Truly dumb moments like this could be excused if only the movie didn’t pretend to have a scientific approach!
In conclusion, if you liked Happy Death Day, this sequel might be something you should watch. Just go in expecting a straight-up comedy with only a few slasher-esque elements, switch your brain off, and you’ll probably enjoy it.
Happy Death Day 2U 5.5/10
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