Movie Reviews

Published on October 13th, 2017 | by Angele Colageo

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Happy Death Day

Using familiar themes can be a risk. What we have seen in previous films that define a style, becomes cliché and bores the audience. Then there are times when movies turn the trope on its head and gives us a clever take on the familiar. Christopher Landon (Scout’s Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse) has directed a fun romp in suspense and horror. Yes, there is the blatant reference to Groundhog Day, but this film is definitely a homage to John Carpenter, the master of the genre.

We know from the trailer that this is a horror/suspense loop and there are expectations set in this type of film. The young, attractive, woman, stalked by an unknown, masked assailant with a penchant for cutlery. As we know, Tree (Jessica Rothe) gets killed repeatedly on her birthday. We know it’s a slasher flick, expecting to see lots of blood and gore. Putting the main character in a time loop is definitely a twist in the storytelling.

Using repetition in film can be a tricky, stalling the momentum of the film. There was a moment during where I wondered when the loop would end, creating the feeling of hopelessness. It is at that time where Tree’s through process  shifts and we travel with her in this never ending day. It takes a few times in the loop for Tree’s character to become enlightened She does figure out that each return is a do-over, an opportunity to make different choices.

The film also tips it’s hat to the college/high school, mean girl movies and definitely a nod to John Hughes Sixteen Candles. It had humor, wit and clever character development, I certainly did not expect to enjoy the film as much as I did. I would definitely watch it again to catch all of the references.   

3.5 out of 5 Stars

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