‘Happy death Day 2 U’ full of more laughs than scares
Expecting a mostly light horror outing, “Happy Death Day 2 U” crowds a college years comedic parody with a “Quantum Leap” time loop trap a la “Groundhog Day,” creating the funniest horror oddity I’ve seen in near eternity (“Scream,” “Scary Movie,” “Love at First Bite” are predecessors).
Director Christopher Landon has a million ideas hit the screen at the same time and skillfully renders a fun recipe for a premise centered on multiple deaths and waking up for another spin. At one moment he does a flashing 60-second synopsis of the original film then experiments with character personalities under various types of stressful events.
Tree (Jessica Rothe) has our eyes fastened to the screen while she repeatedly meets her doom landing in a boyfriend’s bed where she’s counting down to “altering” life outcomes to no avail – she concedes to meeting her fate. What ignites as a run from a babyfaced serial killer evolves into more creative ops (self-suicide skydiving in a bikini to land next to a romantic competitor) before drawing out tension in which she reveals her 90-plus lives are ebbing.
The stalk and kill re-runs never grows tiring and laughs outweigh scares nine to (n)one. The death portion of the repeats turns into a farce as attempts to slice the loop indulge in hastily improvised skittish relationship explorations converting baby-head into a National Lampoon-styled dean shutting off a student made time juggling apparatus.
The Wrap wrote:
‘”Happy Death Day 2U” isn’t screwing around. The plot kicks off in just a few short minutes and doesn’t wait for the audience to catch up to its unpredictable twists and borderline-impenetrable tech talk. This is fast-paced, endlessly clever filmmaking, with the new screenplay by director Landon (taking over from original writer Scott Lobdell) finding every new angle imaginable in a seemingly cyclical narrative. There are so many big developments that the movie seems to forget about one or two of them, although given how well-constructed the rest of the story is, they may be intentional set-ups for future sequels.’
‘Landon’s film also takes the novel approach of changing the genre of the franchise. What started out as a slasher version of “Groundhog Day,” evolves with no explanation whatsoever for its deadly time loop now officially equating “hard” science-fiction.”‘
Stay past the credits. Just as you would for a Star Wars or any superhero film.
Best laughs of 2019 so far, if you applaud horror parody.
Tony Rutherford is a film reviewer for HuntingtonNews.net and a member of the Huntington Regional Film Commission.