Happy Death Day (2017) Review: A Halloween Treat
In 1993, there was a movie released called ‘Groundhog Day’. It starred Bill Murray, and was directed by Harold Ramis. It was about a weatherman who gets stuck repeating the same day over and over, waking up to the same song as each day restarts. Since then, a number have movies have adopted the classic’s premise for their own stories. They are the movies we refer to as “It’s like ‘Groundhog Day’ but”.
This year alone saw the release of ‘Before I Fall’, which applied the format to a high school melodrama, and 2014’s ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ borrowed the idea for a sci-fi backdrop. This time, the day goes on repeat for a young girl named Theresa (Tree for short), except she doesn’t just fall asleep and wake up in the next day. She has to die first.
‘Happy Death Day’ takes that plot device that worked so well over twenty years ago and put it in the middle of a slasher film. Whenever the day repeats, it’s like looking at the beginning of a different horror movie each time. That makes for some very fun moments as Tree tries to figure out who’s been killing her. Never has there been a montage so gruesome as the one that’s seen here, but I’m certainly glad we’ve reached this point in society. From this moment on montages must be this intense. Literally, life or death.
As these movies go, Tree is a very unlikable protagonist when the film starts. It’s what makes it so satisfying to watch her die over and over. While the first 20 or so minutes of the film are a little more than tedious, it’s the price you pay for a film that really picks up in the second half. After the leg work is put in, ‘Happy Death Day’ becomes a fun, mildly scary, horror movie.
It’s a movie that you don’t expect to be as good as it is, while also having moments of being exactly what you thought it would be. For every surprisingly emotional performance, there was the broad over the top caricature, shallower than my bank account. ‘Happy Death Day’ never gets too high off the ground, but it makes for a nice float among the clouds. Sometimes, that’s just what you need on the scariest day of the year.
It’s a PG-13 horror movie, with an intriguing premise, hardly any blood and gore, and only runs for about an hour and a half. It’s the perfect film to see if you want a fun movie this Halloween that won’t give you nightmares. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and highly recommend seeing it in a dark cinema, with lots of people in it.
Rating: Half Price