Happy Death Day 2U
Directed: Christopher Landon
M: Mature themes, violence and coarse language
Happy Death Day 2U is the sequel to the film Happy Death Day. Another spin on the Groundhog Day type of film where the protagonist is trapped in a time loop of reliving the day over and over. The only difference being, in this series, the protagonist must find out who their killer is or continue to die.
This movie once more focuses on the protagonist, Theresa (or Tree as her friends call her), during her second attempt at escaping a time loop and defeating her killer. She teams up with her boyfriend, Carter, and a slew of new friends to stop the murderer.
As horror movie sequels go, its not the worst. There are plenty of downright dreadful horror sequels that exist only for a bit of extra cash. There are others that are exemplary and take the first film in a new and exciting direction. Happy Death Day 2U teeters between these two states, trying to be new, but also stuck trying to adhere to its original premise which is already enough to cause viewers to become caught in a cycle of their own.
The main characters of Tree and Carter are strong once more this time around, but as Tree is the clear protagonist, she definitely shines through. Her reactions and emotional outbursts at having become stuck in the same problem as before feel justified and you, as the viewer, can’t help but feel the same. Her trajectory of either choosing her mother or boyfriend, does push her in a new way, but it is resolved a little too quickly with more film still left to go. However, the emotional connection and chemistry between Tree and Carter is a lifesaver. The other characters are there, but they aren't nearly as fleshed out which is a bit disappointing.
The horror aspect is almost negligent as it instead favours to try for a more comedic, sci-fi, romance route. Its not necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn’t feel like it lives up to its slasher origins. The tension is almost always for naught and doesn’t really deliver at any point.
The comedy is fine, with a few clever laughs and funny scenes, it does help wash over some of the weaker story points, but not enough.
The romantic angle is also an improvement as you can definitely feel they were aiming for something for couples to go out and see. But, none of this is enough to keep the viewer interested for long.
The story is a little bit of the same-same as before, but with more science fiction quantum time loops thrown in to try and explain why she was originally caught in a loop. It does a decent enough job of justification, but those explanations aren’t necessarily the strongest.
A disappointment is not taking it in a newer direction by focusing on a lesser character, Ryan, from the first film and expanding his own experience stuck within a time loop. I feel as though if they went down this route and explored his own mystery, it would have made for a stronger and more engaging film. As such, the secrecy around his own time loop is quickly explained away and it does feel like they let something really good slip through their fingers.
The film focuses too much on Tree doing unrelated events, such as memorising algorithms, catching up with her family and dying in humorous, yet ridiculous ways, instead of trying to find her killer. It drags the film back a bit, even though they try to spice it up with comedy.
But, the whole thing moves along at a brisk pace, making the fun its focus, by changing certain aspects of characters from the first one which allow for new and unique scenarios.
Overall, if you haven’t seen the first one, this one isn’t worth watching. Maybe check out the original and then see how you feel.
A mildly entertaining comedy, romance, slasher film that barely manages to hold on long enough to reach its conclusion before it becomes stuck in a loop of its own design, unoriginality.
5 ½ stars out of 10.