Film Review – Happy Death Day 2U (2019)

Marvel – and, by extension, Disney – are taking over the world. We know it, they know it and there is no stopping it, so why fight it? For every Avengers, there is a Black Panther, for every Star Wars, an animated classic ready to be revamped and retooled into live-action. In box office terms, they are unrivalled, but just outside their intergalactic super-plan for word domination are Blumhouse, producer Jason Blum’s money-making brainchild that continues to see their popularity, and their profits, soar. It could be argued that no-one is closer to Marvel in terms of budgets v box office (we haven’t done the maths, mind) but their success is unbridled, and it’s no surprise that sequels are big business and Happy Death Day 2U is no different.

Coming off of a gigantically successful original back in 2017, which saw bitchy college student-turned-superhero Tree (Jessica Rothe) relive her September 18th birthday/death day over and over again until she unmasked her killer, HDD2U isn’t the sequel you may be anticipating for it has about as much to do with serial killers as Glass did with actual glass. No bad thing, mind you, as we “do the time loop again” only this time it isn’t just Tree stuck there, there’s multiple people. Yes, that’s right kids, it’s multi-verse/multi-dimension/multiple timeline time – and it’s a bloody hoot.

We’ve been here many time before – whether watching Stewie and Brian explore multi-dimensions galore in Family Guy; Abed trying desperately to stop chaos ripping the Community study group into pieces (no black felt goatees, sadly); Quantum Leaps, Loopers, Timecops or, most famously, Doc and Marty going Back to the Future to erase being erased, with lots of fun homages – visual and musical – to the trilogy. In fact, we may be doing it all over again in April if fan theories prove true in Avengers: Endgame, but there’s plenty of time for that.

With HDD2U, writer/director Christopher Landon stretches out the “Groundhog Day” notion of Part I to explore chaos theory and butterfly effects, weaving between multi-dimensional plains as Tree, Carter and co try to navigate science, math and potentially multiple serial killers, with the impending doom of the 24-hour clock up against them. For some, this won’t be happy reading given that the bloodlust – and body count – isn’t quite up there with its predecessor, but it still maintains energy, humour, and above all, tension that made the original so relentlessly enjoyable.

To say more would be a disservice to the film which while a little more “out there”, still succeeds in being everything you’d want and then some. Rothe, once again, is the ace-in-the-hole, brilliantly keeping things together with her charm and wit while still maintaining all the tongue-in-cheek shenanigans that ensue. Sure, it’s silly bordering on ridiculous in places, but that is inherent in its charm and if you open your arms and embrace its goofy-horror goodness, there’s treats a-plenty.

Scott J.Davis |

Horror, Mystery | USA, 2019 | 15 | 13th February 2019(UK) | Universal Pictures | Dir.Christopher Landon | Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Phi Vu

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