Published On: Tue, Feb 12th, 2019

‘Happy Death Day 2U’ fails at being a ‘slasher film with a twist’

If you’re not a fan of Valentine’s Day, then the release of Happy Death Day 2U on February 13, 2019 may be a matter of perfect timing for you.  But if you want to leave the theater feeling at least entertained by a dark film that you’re trying to figure out, you might be a little disappointed by this so-called slasher film with a twist.

Whenever you build a time-loop into a movie, you risk boring the audience with the “Groundhog Day” repetitive nature of the loop.  Think about it. You memorize part of the main dialogue by just watching the film one time. You start wanting to run for the exit door just like the characters are dying to escape the endless loop of their story.  But the plot of the first film in this franchise added a twist with a murderer on the loose and the protagonist being forced to die every day to reset the loop.

Creative little twist, right?

But then someone decided to make a sequel?!?!?!  

I just imagine the conversations as this was being pitched to the producers.  What could possibly make this different from the original? Let’s add in a parallel dimension.  Yeah, that’s a great idea. And let’s say that there are geniuses at this unknown university that can figure out how to move someone across parallel dimensions.  Of course! How did we not see this coming?!?!?!

But to make it sound really impressive, we’ll drop in a few scientific buzz words, some random lasers attached to a giant tinker toy, and pretend we’ve really explained how this is happening.  

I mean, who really wants to understand anything about the premise of the film? And I forgot, let’s make our protagonist somehow be able to develop an unbelievable memory of complex equations and calculations to help our geniuses every day when the loop resets and solve a murder mystery that Sherlock himself couldn’t have pieced together.  SOLD!!! Yeah….I don’t think so.

While you go into the film expecting that discovering the murderer will reset the timeline and escape the loop (going with the slasher film angle), Happy Death Day 2U makes that into a small portion of the story and it doesn’t even have anything to do with the time loop itself.  It just makes the slasher part of the film more of an incidental occurrence.

That’s let-down #1.

But then the incredible stretch of the science fiction angle with no clear attempt at trying to explain itself leads to let-down #2.

That said, the film does have some slightly redeeming qualities.  There is an emotional spin that reminds us to appreciate the ones we love while we still have them in our lives.  It’s hard to fault a film for including that very important message that we could all stand to hear a few times. Additionally, there are a handful of comedic moments that are met with bursts of audience laughter.  It’s always fun to see the one caught in the loop do outrageous things with their day since they know there will be no consequences of their actions. But that’s about it. I wish I could find one more thing….oh, the makeup artist!  When Tree (the poor victim of the time loop) wakes up every day, the makeup under her right eye is smudged…..every single time….the exact same way….driving me crazy because I just wanted her to fix her makeup.

So, I guess the makeup artist gets a high five for being so consistent.  

Yep, now that’s about it.

If you’re beyond your mid 20’s, just wait for this to come out for rental.  Otherwise, it’s an okay date flick for the younger audience who might not get so hung up on the details of the film.  But if you’re a control-freak who expects precision in a story, you’ll probably be better off just passing on this one.  And that’s hard for this control-freak lover of the horror/mystery genre to say about a slasher film.

Happy Death Day 2U gets 2 1/2 stars out of 5 stars

Review by Debbie Sage

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