Happy Death Day
Happy Death Day is basically a movie about a college girl who gets killed on her way to a party one night and wakes up the next morning as if from a bad dream just to relive the exact same day. She continues to relive the day of her death right up to the point where she gets killed and must figure out how to stop this nightmarish loop before it kills her for good. The film was directed by Christopher B. Landon and written by Christopher B. Landon and Scott Lobdell.
Let’s start with how the film was directed, quick. You’ll often hear mixed reviews about how this film was directed depending on who you ask. I was okay with it. It softened a lot of the jump-scares to the point where I barely noticed them- which is a good thing cause there was a lot of them to go around. The film also seemed not to take itself too seriously, which we’re hit over the head with when it comes to the “getting ready to do something totally epic” montage half way thought the film. I’m still unsure whether the problems I have with the film are more to do with the writing, directing or both (since Landon was involved in both).
The writing of the movie was neither brilliant nor cringe worthy, but it certainly wasn’t boring. The film makers seem totally aware that they’re not creating the next cult classic or award winning horror film. They use classic horror movie troupes like the girl who gets scared and seems to completely forget how to run like an adult with a fully functioning body and trips. We see other clichés like the use of multiple jump scares. No matter how predictable the film may feel, it’s always brought back by how light hearted and self aware it feels.
I dare say this movie works better as a comedy or even a RomCom than it does a horror movie, not unlike Lizard’s Club Dread, but I’ll get back to that later.
Most of the acting was done by the actor (Jessica Rothe) who played the lead role of college girl Tree. Even though the character itself felt predictable and copy pasted from any film about popular mean girls since the beginning of film history, she still manages to come off as pretty likable and has me cheering for her by the end of the film. The films resident “nice guy”, Carter Davis (Israel Broussard), sometimes feels a bit shoe-horned into some scenes but still manages to be believable and natural in the role. I’d argue that without the work of the these two actors – Jessica Rothe more than Israel Broussard – the film probably falls pretty flat.
Final thoughts: was this a great horror movie? No. Was it a bad movie? Definitely not. The film knew what it was even down to the score: fun, light-heart and tongue in cheek with the occasional violent murder just for good measure. It kinda felt like that one song on a Kanye West album you know is just there for radio playability, but you kinda like it anyway.
I give this film a 6/10