REVIEW: Happy Death Day 2U

Happy Death Day 2U.

Happy Death Day 2U.

Happy Death Day 2U.

Happy Dea- ok, you get it.

After a series of whack and zany events, Tree Gelbman finds herself, once again, reliving the same day over and over again… but this time, things have supposedly changed.

So originally, full disclosure, I was not going to see Happy Death Day 2U. Why was I not going to see it, you may ask? Well, because, I didn’t want to… however, considering I saw and reviewed the original Happy Death Day in 2017, I thought I at least owed it to myself to see where the sequel planned to take things – and I don’t know whether I made the right choice.

Happy Death Day 2U was one of the most batsh*t insane movies I have seen in 2019 (well, its still February, but you get the picture). Going from what felt like 0 to 100 over the course of fifteen minutes, the opening act of Happy Death Day 2U was enough to completely confirm to me that this sequel was on a whole other level than its predecessor. Eliminating any prior ambiguity and revealing answers to the original’s questions that, after explanation, probably would have been better kept as just questions, Happy Death Day 2U almost completely dropped its roots in the horror genre for more sci-fi heavy shenanigans with the comedy factor amped up to the extreme. A goofy and cray cray sequel that changed things up from the first, both drastically and mildly, Happy Death Day 2U was not exactly a film I’d call “good” but at the very least a film I would call bizarrely intriguing and entertaining.

Tying every little thing together for Happy Death Day 2U – the little bow on top of the pressie – Jessica Roth really helped this film shine in places a movie like this would usually stumble. Enabling herself to recite some comedic and dramatic elements simultaneously, Roth really elevated the material she was given to work with. I honestly believe Happy Death Day 2U would not have worked without Roth and her entertaining performance, much like the original film.

Upon its 2017 release, I considered Happy Death Day a very ‘meh’ film. It was fun and entertaining and I would never berate a person for enjoying the film; I just personally didn’t think it was all that good. The movie felt like (no pun intended) another “repeat” of Groundhog Day or Edge of Tomorrow, in a whole other genre. The cool concept was there but none of the fresh, innovative ideas were. I was almost hoping that Happy Death Day 2U, being the first sequel to one of these time loop movies would then at least nullify the derivative motion of these movies to offer something completely new… and even though Happy Death Day 2U did indeed grant audiences something new, it almost immediately fell right back into its overly derivative nature.

happy-death-day-2u.jpg
(Universal 2019)

Happy Death Day 2U wasted little time in becoming just a rehash of the original. Nothing nuance really happened in the film, as whenever something fresh did show itself, the prospect of the movie’s new ideas never came off as “attractive”. Happy Death Day 2U either felt too samey or too weird – and I mean like weird as in insane, like the kind of insane where you should be locked up in a mental asylum for conjuring up such obscure ideas.

Happy Death Day 2U also suffered from the same hammy, cringy ending the original fell victim too. Every time the movie felt like it was going to end, it just didn’t. And when the movie finally decided to reach a climax, everything about the final act, from shot composition to certain performances, came off as way to cheesy to fit in place with the rest of the film – the end ultimately defined the movie all too well as a bit too over-the-top to really indulge in the story it wanted to tell.

Other than all that though, like I said, Happy Death Day 2U was immensely funny. There was quite a lot to enjoy from a comedic standpoint during the film. The emotion behind certain relationships and the evolution over the course of the film was also felt extremely well, in particular via a relationship between Tree and a certain character who remained absent from the first film. Happy Death Day 2U honestly had some impactful sequences and consequential moments that added a lot of weight to proceedings. This sequel may have not been as endearing and charming as the original but it at least built up the brilliant emotional heft, alongside some more polished and improved attempts at comedy.

The fact of the matter is that Happy Death Day 2U was a movie littered with bits and bobs I, as a film critic, could not personally agree with as genius ingredients to make a great film, but the picture, never the less, at least offered some solid entertainment to at least make it passable. The more and more I critique films, the more and more I have come to realise that people are going to like what they like, and there’s no changing that. Happy Death Day 2U was a very likable film that I feel many people will honestly enjoy – I just cannot ignore the fact that this sequel was somewhat incompetent in its approach to storytelling and filmmaking. It was a good effort, but ultimately Happy Death Day 2U just did not completely jell through and through.

By the way, did I mention this movie had a mid-credits scene? Yeah… its real nasty and real sh*tty.

Happy Death Day 2U was a fine sequel with fine moments, but that’s all it was ‘fine’. And in a world where horror films get crappier and crappier sequels every year, to have Happy Death Day 2U is somewhat a blessing in disguise.

Happy Death Day 2U sadly belongs in the… KINGDOM OF THE CRIMINALLY DULL…

 

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