Entertainment » Movies

Happy Death Day 2U

by Padraic Maroney
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Feb 13, 2019
'Happy Death Day 2U'
'Happy Death Day 2U'  

In case you didn't already know, reliving the day you die pretty much sucks. Just ask Tree Gelbman, who kept dying on her birthday in 2017's "Happy Death Day." Well, Tree is back — and so is her time loop in the horribly named, but fun sequel, "Happy Death Day 2U."

The original film didn't have to worry too much about the logistics of how the time loop worked, other than what was needed to bring about a satisfying ending to the slasher flick. After the film was released and grossed over $100 million at the worldwide box office, a sequel was inevitable. But with it comes the problem of expected answers to what caused the time loop.

"Happy Death Day 2U" quickly answers the question of what was causing the time loop from the first film. Much to Tree's disappointment, it wasn't merely a cosmic reckoning trying to teach her the error of her bitchy ways — though the fact that she was picked out of everyone in the world, karma probably had something to do with it. Using the best movie science available, the characters explain it all enough to satisfy the plot's needs. The science applied her is above the physics classes this reviewer took in college, and beyond anything we have been taught on "The Big Bang Theory," so let's just go with it.

With that out of the way, a glitch sends Tree back into the time loop and reliving her death — again. This time, however, it's in a version of the world that looks like ours, but not everything is as it seems. Everyone from the first film is back, but there's something amiss. For starters, Tree's boyfriend is dating her best friend and her roommate is no longer a murderous sorority girl. Some of the changes lead to a moral conundrum for the co-ed, as she must decide whether to stay in this altered reality or go back to her regular existence.

Taking over scripting duties this time around is director Christopher Landon, who is also returning to the director's chair. For the script, he borrows heavily from the "Back to the Future" films, even including more than a few nods to the time-bending trilogy. Making sure not to simply offer a retread of the previous film, Landon has opened up the film's universe (quite literally) to further explore the characters — scene stealer Rachel Matthews, as sorority head Danielle, gets the most to play with as Danielle is brought into the fold more. But don't fret, he has matched the tone of the first film, making sure to offer just the right mix of tension, scares, and laughs.

More than anything, what makes these films work is lead actress Jessica Rothe. Even when she's having a meltdown about being stuck in the time loop again, she is still able to garner sympathy from the audience. With the film placed squarely on her shoulders, Rothe offers a new take on the final girl. She's not timid, and quite frankly, she's tired of being killed. Like many of the other characters, "Happy Death Day 2U" takes a deeper look at Tree, offering more quiet moments for the actress to also play.

Taking a larger role in the sequel, actor Phi Vu becomes the film's Achilles heel. Used as momentary comedic relief in the first time, Vu becomes much more integral to the plot and film. It is his character's science experiment that is causing everything and thus must work to fix it. However, Vu isn't a strong enough actor to be able to believably explain what is happening. It doesn't help that his character is a walking horror movie cliché; investigating the strange noise, hiding when he should be running, and the ever-popular walking backward right into the masked.

Even with a hokey name that is reminiscent of "The Fast and the Furious" franchise — perhaps "2 Happy 2 Death Day 2 U" was already trademarked — "Happy Death Day 2 U" is a sequel that sticks the landing, feeling more like a simple continuation rather than an actual sequel. While a follow-up might not have been necessary, and the formula might be too tired by the time a teased third entry is released, the filmmakers have created a film that fans of the first one will definitely want to make a date to see.

Happy Death Day 2U

Collegian Tree Gelbman wakes up in horror to learn that she's stuck in a parallel universe. Her boyfriend Carter is now with someone else, and her friends and fellow students seem to be completely different versions of themselves. When Tree discovers that Carter's roommate has been altering time, she finds herself once again the target of a masked killer. When the psychopath starts to go after her inner circle, Tree soon realizes that she must die over and over again to save everyone.


Runtime :: 100 mins
Release Date :: Feb 13, 2019
Language :: Silent
Country :: United States


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