Published on February 12th, 2019 | by Michael Newman0
Happy Death Day 2U
Happy Death Day 2U is the sequel of Cristopher Landon’s 2018 thriller Happy Death Day. For the uninitiated the original was a mashup of a teenage slasher movie, mixed with the Bill Murray classic Groundhog Day. It featured Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) who was being stalked and killed multiple times by a ruthless psychopath. Every time she died, she would wake up and be forced to relive the day. Each time focusing on the events from the first, utilizing what she learned from each encounter to enable her to ultimately unravel the killer’s true identity and put a stop to it. For those who haven’t seen the first film I won’t spoil it here.
Happy Death Day 2U features our previous hero, Tree, who once again is forced to relive the same day over and over again. This time however, it’s not the killer that is her biggest foe, but reality itself. A college experiment gone awry has thrust Tree into a parallel dimension, where she remains herself, but everyone around her is different (more or less). In this dimension her mother was never murdered and her boyfriend Carter (Israel Broussard) is in love with her frenemie Daniel (Rachel Matthews). In order to get back to her own dimension she must enlist the very college students who got her in this mess to begin with and force herself to relive the same day repeatedly (by killing herself) in order to successfully stop time from looping.
Happy Death Day 2U takes the series in a completely different direction. More Weird Science and less Nightmare on Elm Street it forgoes its slasher roots and takes a more humorous, almost romantic dark comedy turn. Happy Death Day 2U focuses far less on the “baby killer” this time and asks more serious questions. Would you give up your previous life to take part in a life where things are different? Would you sacrifice your potential future with the love of your life, to save a person who you lost in the past?
While it’s certainly possible to enjoy the film without seeing the previous, I highly recommend you watch it first. It relies on much of the background, characters and events that took place in the original, even repeating some of the iconic scenes. It’s as much a continuation of the first film then a full-fledged sequel and coming into it without seeing the first one would be like reading a novel from the middle to the end. While certainly not as unique as the previous film, it still offers plenty of suspenseful and funny moments.
For those looking for an adrenaline packed horror flick you will be sorely disappointed. While the original offered that in spades, you won’t find that here. While still offering the same characters that made the original so engaging, the film’s course is not what I had expected. This is not to say that Happy Death Day 2U disappoints, only that you should temper your expectations. Early in the film there is a reference to Back to the Future 2 and I find that to be a rather ironic similarity to make. Where as the original much like Back to the Future offered a new and unique movie plot, the second which maintained the same characters and general feel of the original, just couldn’t quite live up to what made it so great. I could say the same about Happy Death Day 2U, the first was so unique, and much of what made it that way is missing here. It’s enjoyable and certainly worth your time if you enjoyed the first one but just isn’t quite able to capture the spark of the first.
3.5 out of 5 stars