PLOT: A young woman relives the same day over and over again, which just so happens to be the day she’s murdered.
This one is a nice surprise, as this movie is better than it has any business being. Happy Death Day is, essentially, a slasher movie version of Groundhog Day, but it manages to hit that tongue-in-cheek note that makes it pretty worthwhile, if not wholly memorable. It has a decent premise and an excellent lead performance from Jessica Rothe, but it otherwise plays it safe and doesn’t exactly move the meter as well as it could have.
Happy Death Day tells the story of Tree, a pretty sorority girl that is celebrating her birthday, which is also the day she is murdered by a killer in a baby mask. For some reason, however, when she’s killed, she wakes up at the start of the day again, with all the details the same, and everyone else blissfully unaware of the situation. It’s up to her to figure out who the killer is and live through the day.
It’s a solid concept, but by the same token, it also kind of takes away from the sense of urgency in the film. We see our lead, Tree, get murdered in a number of different ways based upon her slight iterations of her day. Part of the point of a horror film is that sense of danger that comes with the rules that come with real life. Death is a part of life, and when you know your hero is just going to wake up again when they’re supposed to die, it just kind of takes the horror out of it.
Happy Death Day is a solid outing from Blumhouse, but it falls short of being a classic. It’s own concept works against it, when it comes to being a horror film, but it’s still a fun time. The lead performance by Jessica Rothe is excellent, and it’s fun in its own right, but there isn’t much here that winds up being especially memorable.