“Happy Death Day” stars Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Rachel Matthews, Charles Aitken, and Rob Mello. Released on October 13, 2017, the film is about a teenager who relives her day over and over again every time she gets killed. The only way to escape the time loop is to figure out her killer’s identity.
The film is directed by Christopher B. Landon, who also directed Burning Palms, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, and Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. OK, now we’re starting to get into the spirit of Halloween in terms of horror films, and what better time to release one other than Friday the 13th? The plot element that is used in this film, which is the “time loop effect”, isn’t anything new. It’s been introduced in certain other films, most notably Groundhog Day and Edge of Tomorrow. But what if the time loop effect happens in a Jason Blum horror film? Clearly it equals to a surprisingly entertaining ride.
One of the things that I enjoyed out of the film was its execution. Yes, it does have its familiar slasher genre tropes, but the way they used the time loop effect kept it from being tedious. It’s like Edge of Tomorrow, where someone lives the same day over and over again, but they don’t go through the same routines. Every same day has a different scenario than the last, kind of like a video game where you’re stuck on the same level because you keep getting killed by the same boss every time. But what makes it even better is that it shows off more than just a time loop horror film. It’s basically about the main character’s journey to become a better person, which makes effective use of the plot element. From what I saw, the film is supposed to be a horror comedy with college students. So if you’re expecting me to get scared by it, I’m afraid I’m going to have to cut your expectations short, because this film, to me, is absolutely scare-free. On the plus side, the comedy aspect works pretty well, mostly due to Jessica Rothe’s energetic and entertaining performance as Tree Gelbman, but that doesn’t change the fact that both of these aspects were having difficulties finding the right balance between one another. There’s also this one moment (without spoilers, of course) during the third act that actually caught me by surprise. However, the motives behind that moment were just simply idiotic. Understandable, but idiotic.
Overall, it doesn’t compete with the likes of Get Out and Split, but “Happy Death Day”, as a whole, is a pleasant surprise from start to finish, even though the horror aspect was very weak. I honestly was expecting this to be just another Halloween scare-fest, but thankfully it offered a story that’s actually worth caring about. If you’re in a mood for a fun slasher treat this Halloween season, this one’s worth checking out.