“Happy Death Day” is essentially what one would get if they took the classic Bill Murray comedy “Groundhog Day” and mixed it with a slasher film. This formula works in some areas, but falls flat in others.
The film is directed by Christopher B. Landon, who is best known for his involvement with the “Paranormal Activity” series of horror films.
“Happy Death Day” centers around a girl named Theresa, played by Jessica Rothe. After being murdered by a person wearing an admittedly creepy baby mask, she wakes up and relives the same day over again, with figuring out who her murderer is and killing them as the only way to break the loop. The plot isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s an interesting enough idea to keep the viewer enticed.
Throughout the film, some of the writing is original and interesting. The reveal of the killer at first feels disappointing and uninspired, but ultimately works as the film progresses through its final act. However, for every unique idea, there is another borrowed from other slasher films, giving off the feeling of seeing the same thing done again.
Rothe’s performance as Theresa is undoubtedly the highlight of the film. Her character starts out as a mean girl with an attitude, but over the course of the film she progresses into a funny and heartfelt person that is easy to latch on to and root for. Without her, watching “Happy Death Day” would be a very forgettable experience.
A big problem with “Happy Death Day” is that although it was an enjoyable and funny movie at many points, it isn’t very scary. There are jump scares here and there, but there is nothing that really makes the audience sit on the edge of their seat, peeking through their fingers watching in terror.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because the film is actually a lot of fun. However, if someone were going into the movie hoping to be scared, that person may walk out a bit disappointed.
Going in with the mindset that this movie is more entertainment than horror, Christoper B. Landon’s fourth film as a director is ultimately a satisfying experience. It’s not the horror film that is going to leave audiences peeking around every corner in fear, but will definitely not feel like a waste of time either.
Rating: Two and a half out of four stars.
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