It takes a certain type of person to enjoy seeing another person die over, and over, and over again.
And another type of person to revisit that premise.
Happy Death Day was pretty much Groundhog Day meets Scream, and saw Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) reliving her birthday over and over again. The twist? Each day ended with her getting killed in some way, by a murderer in an extremely creepy looking baby mask.
Seriously, who thought it was a good idea to make a giant baby the mascot for your school’s sports team?
By the end of the first movie, Tree changes from a mean sorority girl to one who’s much nicer, manages to find her killer and thus ending her loop. She also manages to score herself a boyfriend in Carter Davis (Isreal Broussard), whose room she wakes up in every morning.
2U picks up where the first film left off and starts us off with bumbling science student Ryan (Vi Phu), who seemingly got trapped in a time loop of his own. Thankfully, having just gotten out of her own time loop, Tree is quick to believe him and offers help.
As there has never been an explanation as to how and why Tree got stuck in a time loop, fans have been quick to concoct their own theories. Some theorised that with the heavy significance the film placed on Tree’s mother, the older woman could be the reason for Tree’s Groundhog Day shenanigans. Perhaps the mother witnessed her daughter devolving into nothing but a mean sorority girl from beyond the grave, and wanted to teach her a lesson and grow up.
But no, none of that fan fiction is true.
The film’s director, Christopher Landon, tries really hard to subvert most of our expectations, by offering what seems like a plausible scientific explanation for what happened. It was Ryan’s science project, the Sisyphus Quantum Cooling Reactor, or Sisy for short, that malfunctioned, and accidentally opened a portal into the multiverse.
Unfortunately for the film, the science aspect of it turns out to be the most boring part of the film. It seemed like they were hoping to impress their audience by spouting scientific sounding mumbo jumbo, but it all just fell flat.
Where the movie shines is its tongue-in-cheek, self-referential sense of humour. Rothe also carries the movie with her dynamic portrayal of Tree, who in 2U is sent to an alternate universe where she has to relive the events of the first movie again, only now things are a little different.
Without spoiling too much, Tree is made to choose between two difficult choices and it is a testament to Rothe’s acting prowess that she can imbue a simple smile with pain, love and longing.
Rachel Matthews also gets to shine as Danielle, who in the second instalment is a little different from her first movie counterpart, and helps the team to distract the insufferably self-righteous Dean (Steve Zissis), by pretending to be a blind French student. Watching her wallop the Dean with her walking stick and knock down his furniture was amusing, to say the least, and had most audiences in the cinema cackling.
Another fun part of the movie involved Tree taking her deaths into her own hands, which basically had her finding interesting ways to off herself, in order to help her friends figure out the formula to get Sisy up and running. Only these deaths come at a price, and Tree wakes up each day weaker and more battered.
Of course, Happy Death Day would not be Happy Death Day without its iconic Baby Face Killer, appearing every now and then to terrorise Tree and friends. However, unlike the first movie, the Baby Face Killer has become less of a focus which was a tad disappointing as it was part of what made the first movie such a fun watch.
Overall, Happy Death Day 2U is still a slasher-comedy flick that occasionally forgets its a horror movie and decides that it wants to try being a sci-fi movie instead. It is still an enjoyable watch and we can only hope the scene in the mid-credit scene does not signify a potential third movie.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
As a sequel, Happy Death Day 2U works by building on questions left over from the first movie, as well as its sense of self-referential humour. It might feel a little lost at times but at its core, it is very much still an entertaining slasher-comedy.
Story - 7/10
Direction - 7/10
Characterisation - 8.5/10
Geek Satisfaction - 7.5/10