CHICAGO – At some point, we’ve all experienced deja vu. Sure, it could just be because we lead a monotonous, predictable life, but I’d personally welcome the idea of something supernatural at play over the more practical explanation. That’s exactly what “Happy Death Day” introduced, and it was a hilarious slasher take on “Groundhog Day”, and luckily the sequel, “Happy Death Day 2U”, adds to the experience.
The first “Happy Death Day” is a hard film to forget, especially since it the main character is stuck in a repeating loop of waking up, getting murdered, and starting the day over again. This sort of time loop scenario isn’t new to us, especially with iconic films like “Groundhogs Day” and “Live. Die. Repeat.” (formerly known as “Edge of Tomorrow”). There is an inherent comedy to this scenario that is impossible to deny, which is something the film embraces fully and unabashedly. Trying to use this premise with a serious tone is destined for failure, and “HDD2U” understands that’s what made its predecessor such an enjoyable treat and continues on the comedic route, with several new detours.
Returning director and writer of “HDD2U”, Christopher Landon, has always understood how important the horror aspects of the film were, but the greater skill is how they are balanced with the necessary humor. The problem comes when a sequel feels too much like the original, which then warrants the question, “Did we really need this film?” Now that’s a question you never find yourself asking as you watch what feels like a sequel and then some. Where the first film was a comedic slasher, this film changes genres right away and becomes a full-blown sci-fi extravaganza. When the last film ended, we didn’t really care to find out how Flower Gelbmans (Jessica Rothe) first became stuck in that loop. It could have been magical, scientific or even supernatural, but the closure we received was more than enough to quench that thirst.
“Happy Death Day 2U” opens everywhere on February 14th. Featuring Jessica Rothe, Steve Zississ, Phi Vu, Israel Broussard, Sarah Yarkin, and Suraj Sharma. Directed by Christopher Landon. Written by Christopher Landon. Rated “PG-13”
Photo credit: Universal Studios