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‘Happy Death Day’ isn’t that scary, but it is still a Friday the 13th treat

Its blatant 'Groundhog Day' rip-off just about works.
Jessica Rothe screaming in Happy Death Day
[Photo: Blumhouse Productions]

‘Happy Death Day’

Director: Christopher B. Landon

Starring: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Rudy Morine, Rachel Matthews, Charles Aitkin, Rob Mello

Rating: PG-13

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3.5 (Out Of 5) Globes

Plot: A horror remake of the 1993 fantasy-comedy classic “Groundhog Day”, “Happy Death Day” sees brattish sorority girl Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) stuck in a time-loop where she is repeatedly murdered. Her death restarts the exact day, with her having a full recollection of how she died. Tree finds an ally in Carter (Israel Broussard), whose room she wakes up in each morning, and the pair set out to find the person that keeps on killing her. It soon transpires that Tree’s injuries are beginning to boil over into each new day, though, and suddenly she is in a race against time to bring her murderer down. 

Review: Usually when one film copies the plot of another so brazenly you can’t help but immediately feel disappointed by it. But it speaks to the fun, enthusiasm, and energy that permeates through most of Blumhouse Productions’ releases that you’re quickly able to forgive “Happy Death Day” for blatantly ripping off “Groundhog Day”. It takes a while, though. “Happy Death Day’s” set-up is slow and mundane, and only the charm of stellar leading lady Jessica Rothe keeps the film a float. But once it delves deeper into its concept, and plays with its time-loop, while not just repeating the same day, “Happy Death Day” picks up a head of steam, and becomes much more enjoyable. Christopher Landon’s script even gets a little profound at times, too, and, thanks to Rothe, these moments are still able to resonate despite being presented in a rather mawkish manner. It must be said that those of you looking for a plenty of scares won’t find that with “Happy Death Day”, though, which doesn’t really jolt or terrify. That doesn’t make it any less fun, as it ultimately plays with its plot and gimmick in a truly entertaining fashion that more than compensates. It does this all the way through to the very end, too, which proves that, while some of their films might not hit the mark, when they’re on song Blumhouse knows exactly how to play with and control its audience while still satisfying. Long may it continue, too. 

 
 
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