4/5* Siobhan Divers | Shiv’s Show
Dir: Christopher B. Landon
Starring: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Rachel Matthews, Charles Aitken
With a good number of jump-scares, an interesting storyline and an even better ending, Happy Death Day provides comedy, action and horror. A darker version of Groundhog Day, with scenes similar to those within horror franchise Scream, Happy Death Day seems familiar at times even though the premise is relatively unusual.
Set on a college campus, Happy Death Day follows a student who is murdered on her birthday and begins reliving the day over and over again. Theresa “Tree” Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) wakes up in the dorm room of classmate Carter Davis (Israel Brousard) after partying the previous night. In between leaving Carter’s room and entering her sorority house, Theresa dismisses a number of people en route before throwing away a birthday cupcake made by roommate Lori Spengler (Ruby Modine). Later that night, on her way to a party, she is lured into a tunnel and murdered by a masked figure, waking up the next morning in Carter’s bed in a repeat of the previous day’s events.
As Happy Death Day clearly borrows from loveable classic Groundhog Day, and is reminiscent of teen slasher films of the 1990’s and early 2000’s such as the Scream franchise, nostalgia is a key element of the film. It is hard to sympathise with bratty sorority girl Tree as she is brutally murdered at first as, like in Groundhog Day, a central part of the narrative is the lead character’s development throughout the film from self-centred cynic to kinder, person-you-might-want-to-actually-be-around.
However like Groundhog Day, this is all part of the film’s charm and Tree’s personality is balanced out with the shy character of Carter who is definitely more likeable from the get-go.
As you would expect from a horror film, creepy locations are utilised and frequented throughout the film with scenes in hospital corridors, car parks and a creepy underpass contributing to the film’s familiar feel.
If you enjoy horror films and/or Groundhog Day, then Happy Death Day is for you as ultimately it is like a horror remake of Groundhog Day set on a college campus – what’s not to like!
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