“Happy Death Day” Again! and Again!

Up front I’ll tell you that the movie Happy Death Day has so many twists and turns that you would think you were on a wild ride at Universal Studios. The fun, but deadly storyline is a cross between Scary Movie and Groundhog Day and the maze of thrills will have you spooked out until the very end. Or what you think is the end, so don’t get up out of your seat until it’s ALL over. Again! and Again!

Carrying the perfect movie rating, PG-13, the filmmakers sneak in what most teens are looking for without having to have a parent on hand to watch over them. It’s has some rude stuff weaved into the storyline and even some partial nudity that’s nothing more than a rear end shot. The shockers are the cool part with the ugly killer popping in without notice. Actually when you feel the stalker is coming, it’s already there.

JESSICA ROTHE as Tree and RUBY MODINE as Lori in “Happy Death Day.”

Enough of that as the film actually has a good story and even a moral of sorts. Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) awakens one morning in the dorm bed of Carter Davis (Israel Broussard). He brought her back to his room after a wild party at her sorority house Kappa Pi Alpha. Groggy and wondering why she ended up in his room, she gets all upset.

Leaving his dorm room she walks across campus to her housing unit and gets greeted by her roommate Lori (Ruby Modine). She reminds Tree that she is late for class and hands her a Birthday cupcake. It’s the start of a day she will never forget as the clock keeps ticking toward the end of her life. Or maybe not!

JESSICA ROTHE as Tree and ISRAEL BROUSSARD as Carter in “Happy Death Day.”

The movie has a lot going for it and Director Christopher Landon (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) has the skills to pull off the “never-ending” mystery. He does give clues all over the place, but it’s more fun not knowing when the next shoe will drop. Just when you think you’ve solved the mystery and are about to walk out of the theater, the movie goes to black and then starts up again. It’s a very nice ploy to sit the audience back in their seats much like and encore at the concert.

Jessica Rothe as Tree Glibman in HAPPY DEATH DAY

The star of the film, Jessica Rothe, lends her talent to the production by creating Tree Glibman. Tree has to be an aloof, bratty, coed sorority sister who despises anyone who doesn’t come up to her standards. Rothe nails it as if she really had a college life like her character and sets up the audience for a wild and wicked “hate me, love me” time.

Happy Death Day may give you a bit of déjà vu as is plays out a lot like the movie Groundhog Day with the day repeating itself over and over again. But, here Tree is solving a mystery that may save her life. (If you haven’t seen Groundhog Day, find it on line or VOD and watch it AFTER you have seen Happy Death Day for a lot of laughs). Happy Death Day also has the creepy feel and shiver of the horror comedy Scary Movie where a guy shows up out of nowhere wearing a spooky mask. (That movie franchise lasted through 5 sequels).

Now the film’s not for everyone and the PG-13 rating by the MPAA is for violence/terror, crude sexual content, language, some drug material and partial nudity all involving college kids. The 13-16 year-olds will love the fact that they can see the wild and wacky movie without a parent present. But, be cautious when deciding to allow immature children see the film as it does have some scenes that are inappropriate for youngsters.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A fun film with a lot of fun twists.

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Charles Aitken, Laura Clifton
Directed by: Christopher Landon
Genre: Thriller, Comedy
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence/terror, crude sexual content, language, some drug material and partial nudity
Running Time: 1 hr. 36 min.
Release Date: October 13, 2017
Distributed by: Universal Pictures

The comments within this review are the critic’s expressed opinions.

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Film Editor John Delia has been on all sides of the movie business from publications to film making. He has worked as a film critic with ACED Magazine for more than 12 years and earned a Bachelors degree in communications from the University of Florida. John is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association. Follow John on Twitter @staragent1 or send John a message at jdelia@acedmagazine.com