HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U is bold and bat shit crazy. In a good way thankfully. Kind of like Aliens did with Alien, it completely does a 180 degree flip and changes genres, and completely sticks the landing. The first film was a Groundhog’s Day horror/thriller that happened to be funny with a great, great, let me emphasize that more, GREAT, performance by Jessica Rothe. And even though it was a horror/thriller, it wasn’t very scary, but the fun completely made up for it. The sequel, released yesterday, almost completely (except for one or two little tense jump scares) abandons the horror/thriller aspect and becomes more of a sci-fi emotional mystery adventure. And I God damn loved every minute of it.
And don’t ask me in a direct message if the movie was better than the original. They are two different beasts if try to put them in a competitive match. Like comparing apples and oranges at this point in time. I will say that whenever I watch the first film again in the future, I would watch the second one immediately, as they are great companion pieces to one another, and are both proof that you CAN DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT than just rehash old shit in sequels. Writer/Director Christopher Landon did something unique and I can’t believe Blumhouse bought into it, but I’m glad they did. This movie definitely has more of a Back To The Future Part II vibe than anything, and it even references the film directly, and has little trinkets of Easter Eggs as well throughout the whole thing if you are willing to pay close attention.
I’m not going to reveal any of the plot or story, but I love how the movie starts out immediately by not making it about Jessice Rothe’s character Tree, but organically brings her back into the fold, and front and center no less. I’m not even going to reveal how she ends up getting back into her death loop or what the loop has been about the entire time, the best parts of this movie is finding out everything yourself when the story unfolds and a perfect pace for you. And I love, love, LOVED how this movie has such an emotional punch to it, that you don’t even care really who is the killer in the end (I completely stopped guessing at one point because the movie basically tells you to and that it isn’t the point of the story), it’s more of just the a good tasting cherry on the cake you weren’t expecting to get anyway.
This sequel also manages to ask and answer questions we didn’t even know we needed asked or answered from the first film. And the best thing about it all? It pokes fun at itself, it knows how ridiculous it is, but the tone is so nearly pitch perfect that it doesn’t matter. There are several scenes in this film that will make you cry if you even have half a heart, and the movie features an emotional score that is too good for horror/thriller/sci-fi films (loved the Back to the Future Part II homage musical cues). And the performances were all spot on for a film like this. But again, I’m going to focus on the very underrated actress Jessica Rothe, for without her, these movies absolutely would not work. She is the entire light, the light bulb, the plug, and the spark to ignite everything. She is absolutely amazing in this, and even manages to pull off a better emotional performance than the first film, which I thought was damn near perfect to begin with. You’ll know what scenes I am talking about when you see them.
Trust me, I wish I could write a spoiler review and spoiler the shit out of this thing screaming its praises, but I should be shot if I tried. I can’t wait for more people to see it so I can discuss this film privately with them. If any of the movies little fun secrets are ruined for anyone, I would feel really really bad. Just take my word that the movie is a completely different experience from the first film, and if you accept the sci-fi story elements, you are going to have a great and fun time.
Look, in the end, you know if you want to see this movie or not. If you are looking for the same old shit like the first film, this isn’t for you. If you want something scary and horrifying, this film isn’t for you. If you didn’t like the first movie, you probably won’t like this one either. I’ve read reviews with complaints that they wish there was more Baby face mask killing and stalking, but IMO, if we got more of the same, this film wouldn’t have been all that great. This film is something different from the original, which we need more of in sequels. In a nutshell, if you are willing to go on this little bat shit crazy sci-fi mystery adventure emotional idea, this film will reward you…and reward you….and reward you….and reward you….and reward you…