courtesy of Universal Pictures
There are some movies you go into thinking there going to suck or not meet your expectation. There are other movies you go into with high expectation only to be disappointed however I’m proud to say that the film I’m going to be discussing here today was A film I went into with more of a pessimistic point of view believing that it would be another throw away movie, however I found that I was charmed by Happy Death Day from beginning to end leaving me with a smile on my face as the credits rolled.
Happy Death Day, follows a college student who is murdered on her birthday and begins reliving the day repeatedly, at which point she sets out to find the killer and stop her death. Produced by the amazing Jason Blum while being Directed by Christopher Landon and starring Jessica Rothe (Tree) Israel Broussard (Carter) and Ruby Modine.
With the sequel out I wanted to check out the first one before heading into this next one and let me tell you about how much I enjoyed the film not only for the promise of it’s premise. It being Groundhog Day meets Scream but also well balanced humor and drama with a horror twinged tone which stands firm through the movie. The story is compact, easy to follow and knows what it is and thrives for it. Not only is it filled with fun performances but it is also finds a way to make the smaller more intimate moments work without feeling forced or fake. Which is something that really worked for the movie along with the insanity that is the killer itself being a person walking around in a weird baby mask, however I almost forgot to mention the great gag reel of death scenes we get from the main character portrayed amazingly by Jessica Rothe.
The performances put on here were spectacular. The confident and humorous Rothe stole the movie and was the breakout in my opinion. I didn’t catch her performance in La La Land which is her most notable work. Though this being my first sight of her work shows how much of a bright future she has (hopefully as a lead also) Tree’s character arc here is something that I’ve seen before but has this sense of genuine honesty and openness given from Rothe that isn’t played for laughs but more so as a way of allowing the audience to get to know her better through the picture, or at least that’s how I felt. There were some scenes in the picture where I continued I felt her frustration specifically when she was killed in a certain way after she felt she was safe in a police car. Which as an audience member I fell for and each time she would wake up, confused and annoyed knowing what’s happening to her but not knowing how to stop it. Rothe’s performances can also get loud in a good way. However she still finds a way to shine in the subtle more quiet moments in the picture like in a mid-movie scene where she meets her father for her birthday. Which not only added another layer to what was at first a stereotypical character, but also felt so real and honest. Her chemistry between her and Broussard’s character Carter also added a bunch of charm to the film, Broussard whom I’m familiar with him through the picture To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before here he kind of plays the same thing but different in the sense that now he’s the one that’s trying to gain the affection of this girl. No matter what his character always seemed to be progressing through each loop even though his character Carter didn’t know it. Specifically in a scene when he plainly mentions what really happened between them the night he brought her home and the look of innocence he gives her brought so much more into the scene then any piece of dialogue that could’ve been said. The two elevate what could’ve been a lackluster script.
Beyond the story the editing was pitch perfect making use of every cut in the picture feel smooth, while also making you feel it’s impact through the constant time loops and they way we kept returning to the them, eventually making me as frustrated as Tree was in an entertaining way of course. Not to mention the sound from the withdraw of the knife to the big explosion mid-film, the sound knows when to restrain and let us imagine what we’ll happen next and kicks in at the proper moment giving it a greater impact. The cinematography played like another character in the picture with each death scene we saw making it the “gimmick” more interesting and entertaining to watch every time it played out. However I wouldn’t be a real fan if I didn’t point out a bit of flaws, to me only thing that wasn’t up to par was the script however the actors truly made it better than what it probably was. Not to mention we’ve seen the characters a million times in other films done way better I might add. Overall The story never dragged and it kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end.
So all in all Happy Death Day won me over with more than what was on the surface and with the sequel coming out It’s safe to say that I’m excited for what it brings.
courtesy of Universal Pictures
Written by William Christian Praise
Happy Death Day 2U will be released on February 13,2019.