Happy Death Day 2U Director: Christopher Landon
Writers: Christopher Landon
Cast: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Phi Vu, Suraj Sharma, Ruby Modine
Studio: Universal Pictures
Rated PG-13 | 100 Minutes
Release Date: February 13, 2019
Christopher Landon‘s first Happy Death Day was a darkly fun and hilarious slasher spin on the Groundhog Day concept. In it, a vain and selfish Tree (Jessica Rothe) found herself reliving her murder on her birthday over and over again. Though there wasn’t much more to it than that, it was still smart enough to borrow, blend, and subvert elements from other slasher and time loop films to make for a very entertaining guilty pleasure watch. Along with Rothe’s energetic performance, audiences stayed glued to the screen to watch how she would get out of her time loop and figure out who her killer was.
Now everyone is back for Happy Death Day 2U. While the sequel’s humor may not work quite as well as it did in the first, and it does stray away from the slasher mystery bit, it does take Tree’s character arc in a new direction by taking a surprisingly emotional turn and using a more geeked out concept by adding in some Back to the Future Part II to keep the deja vu concept going.
Happy Death Day Directed by Christopher Landon
Written by Scott Lobdell
Starring Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Charles Aitken, Laura Clifton, Rob Mello Blumhouse Productions
Rated R | 96 Minutes
Release Date: October 13, 2017
If you’ve watched the trailer for Happy Death Day, then you know exactly what you are walking into. The writer and director make no effort to hide their influences, to the point of literally name-dropping Groundhog Day and Bill Murray IN the movie. One character’s last name is even credited as “Spengler” (Harold Ramis was Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters). That said, if you’re gonna walk the line between parody and homage, you better be careful and to their credit, writer Scott Lobdell and director Christopher Landon do a pretty great job. In order for this to work, like Groundhog Day, the lead character and actor playing them has to be convincing. While I’m not comparing Happy Death Day‘s Jessica Rothe to Bill Murray, she does do one hell of a job here and the results are a perfect little 95-minute meta-slasher film right in time for Halloween.