As film fans, there’s always a handful of films that we allow to pass us by. This isn’t usually a comment on their quality or our willingness to enjoy them – sometimes, we’re just a little late to the party.
As a huge fan of both slasher movies and time-loop narratives, Happy Death Day is chief among the very limited cross-section of the two. Despite it somehow slipping through the cracks, it finally made the top of the watchlist.
Happy Death Day‘s thoroughly ambitious blend of horror, comedy, and romance makes for an instantly unique film. From the opening scenes, Happy Death Day quickly establishes all the tropes that make time-loop movies so much fun, and then it sets about building its narrative.
With so many genres blended into one film, Happy Death Day feels spread a little thin. On occasion, it does devolve into cliché, only to amp it back up by doing something unexpected. Its slasher action is genuinely entertaining and manages to capitalize on established horror movie tropes, but Happy Death Day never lets go of its solid foundation of comedy.
It’s hardly a laugh riot – after all, it’s a film about a girl being repeatedly murdered by an unknown assailant – but it does deliver a few sound laughs. A handful of these stem from the film’s satire of college movies, but many of them are a result of the clever writing of the film’s purposefully unpleasant protagonist, Tree.
One of Happy Death Day‘s most impressive elements is its cast, particularly Jessica Rothe and Israel Broussard, who share an on-screen chemistry that sees the film through its otherwise weaker moments. The pair’s relationship forms the basis for Tree’s character development, and as a result, their chemistry is key in making Happy Death Day work.
While Happy Death Day‘s writing doesn’t make for a groundbreaking blending of its multiple genres, it dabbles competently enough in each of them to make for a satisfying and entertaining experience. The film’s central mystery is bound to keep its audience guessing, and although by its final scenes it begins to become predictable, it remains an engaging experience with a number of particularly memorable scenes.
Summary: A fun and entertaining genre mash-up, Happy Death Day doesn’t break any new ground, but is satisfying nonetheless.
Highlight: The chemistry between the film’s two stars was make or break, but luckily for Happy Death Day, it was the former.