Image courtesy of Blumhouse Productions.

‘Happy Death Day 2U’ Review: an unparalleled return

February 27, 2019

The first “Happy Death Day” was a pleasant surprise, as it was able to bring a fresh and inventive idea to the popular slasher genre. Now less than two years later, the franchise returns where the challenge is to keep the film feeling fresh and not like a repeat. Luckily, “Happy Death Day 2U” is able to succeed in all ways that a sequel should. Characters are thoroughly expanded upon, action set pieces are bigger and the story progresses substantially compared to where it began. All of this culminates into a film that is extremely enjoyable and exceedingly funny.

Jessica Rothe as Tree and Phi Vu as Ryan in “Happy Death Day 2U”. Image courtesy of Blumhouse Productions.

After breaking the cycle of being stuck on the same day that ends with her death, Tree finds herself inexplicably trapped in another time loop back on the same day. The only difference is that everything has changed with a new killer behind the mask. Although seeming a bit like deja vu, the sequel is able to separate itself from its predecessor by focusing more on the background along with side characters that were barely touched. Much of this focus goes into explaining the science behind the film, giving a reason as to why the events of the first film happened. While nice, this was definitely not required as most audiences were able to enjoy the first movie without delving too much into it.

The only glaring downside is that “Happy Death Day 2U” seems to lose much of its horror elements. Fitting more into the genre of sci-fi thriller this time, the film seems to have rarely any scares or moments that will create tension in the audience. This is a shame since the first one was able to stand out so strongly as being a unique spin on a horror film, yet the movie only mildly suffers from this loss.

Jessica Rothe as Tree in “Happy Death Day 2U”. Image courtesy of Blumhouse Productions.

Yet it is once more a strong lead performance by Jessica Rothe that is able to help the film stand out. Rothe is truly able to shine in this film with her character getting much exposition and depth that not only push her but the story as well. Her charisma both individually and with other characters can clearly be seen, as she is able to convey scenes of comedy and emotion with ease.

“Happy Death Day 2U” avoids the tropes of most sequels by finding a new and inventive way to keep the same story fresh. The sequel expands on elements that made the first one so memorable by giving more depth to side characters. Rothe is able to deliver yet another hilarious performance that is able to play off the meta-concept. Although the movie loses much of its horror elements, the film is an extremely enjoyable one that fans of the first will love.

Verdict: ★★★★

“Happy Death Day 2U” is now playing in theaters

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