Somebody really wants Tree dead and she’s making every death count. Happy Death Day takes the clever premise of Groundhog Day and warps it into a horror film with gleeful success. Director Christopher B. Landon (writer of the Paranormal Activity franchise) and writer Scott Lobdell (Marvel’s X-Men Comics) have crafted a smart slasher film that works as a comedy and slight romance that reminded me of Wes Craven’s Scream.
It’s Theresa’s birthday (or Tree as everyone calls her) and she already knows about the surprise party that her campus friends are throwing for her in the evening. We can tell that Tree isn’t the nicest of people as some of the things she says to people are quite cruel. It isn’t long until the heart of the story comes into play. Someone attacks Tree wearing a mascot mask. Tree is killed and wakes up thinking that it was just a dream. That is until she gets attacked and killed again. This repeats itself several times until Tree realizes that she’s reliving the day of her murder and that she must determine who the killer is and stop her death from happening.
Happy Death Day works with its smart script and a memorable performance from Jessica Rothe who plays Tree. Along for the ride is Carter (Israel Broussard), a young college kid that Tree wakes up next to in his dorm room. She even has a conversation with him about what’s happening and he suggests that she has unlimited lives, so the possibility of discovering the killer is not out of the question. What really surprised me about this film was how funny it was and the unexpected lack of onscreen violence. With its PG-13 rating, the film didn’t focus on the killing itself and paid more attention to how Tree was dealing with this problem. Plus, the sold-out theater screamed during the scary parts and roared with laughter making the experience an even better time.
Verdict 5 out of 5
Happy Death Day is a horror film that utilizes a smart script and good performances to separate itself from the recent ghosts and apparition films of recent years. I like a good slasher movie because of the characters we get to meet and Tree is one that learns about herself throughout her escapade and we start to root for her when the killer closes in. Happy Death Day is wicked fun, offering laughs and the occasional scares, making this experience a happy good time!