Sequel’s best effort offers just enough horror, fun

By Juan Ibarra/campus editor

The concept of reliving a day over and over again isn’t anything particularly new. Tracing the origin back decades, there are tons of different movies, books and TV shows that follow the formula. It isn’t even anything new to this franchise.

Happy Death Day 2U takes the concept from its predecessor of a horror movie with a twist and adds enough to make an interesting movie, but fails to reach those same heights.

After escaping the time loop of the original film, Tree Gelbman, portrayed eloquently by Jessica Roth, is pulled back into a time loop. Again.

Photo courtesy Blumhouse Productions
Gelbman thinks she has caught the masked murderer when, in reality, he is standing right behind her. Photo courtesy Blumhouse Productions

While this may sound like a cheap plot to cash in on a sequel, it surprisingly brings enough fun ideas to warrant its existence.

Cheesy jokes, dumb dialogue and lame one liners fill out screen time and help the audience become acclimated with the tone of the movie.

For the most part, the lighthearted nature of the film is at its strongest when it has a cast of teenagers playing with the sci-fi ideas of different dimensions and multiple time loops. On the other hand, the campy, B-movie horror is also done well and adds to the fun, but it falls flat when compelled to delve deeper to its horror roots.

The cast of characters isn’t overtly large. With Roth having the most screen time, everyone else becomes secondary to the story surrounding her. While all the characters do a good job rounding out the movie and adding some character to it, no one individually stands out.

Photo courtesy Blumhouse Productions
Tree Gelbman quietly sneaks up on the unsuspecting, masked murderer as he tries to kill his next victim, Ryan Phan, who is pinned against a table by the murderer. Photo courtesy Blumhouse Productions

While the big hook of the original is the mystery of the time loop and trying to figure out who the killer is, the sequel side steps that angle as it explains the time loop almost instantly and then doesn’t seem to care about the identity of a killer.

It almost appears as if it was a different movie entirely or the writers felt forced to add that shock factor in an otherwise above average campy B-movie, sci-fi flick.

Happy Death Day 2U feels like a sequel trapped in the shadow of its predecessor. Where the original was able to build a compelling narrative around the aura and mystery of its horror roots, the sequel strays away from it and fails to do anything interesting with it. It shines in its charm and with that comes the campy and mostly enjoyable characters and their interactions.

The movie in itself takes a fun concept, some unique characters and has fun with them only to be bogged down by a forced horror plot and some bad jokes.

3 out of 5 stars