Happy Death Day 2U Movie Review
Written by Ryan Holloway
Released by Universal Pictures
Directed by Christopher Landon
Written by Christopher Landon, Scott Lobdell (characters)
2019, 100 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
Release date: 13th February (UK)
Jessica Rothe as Tree Gelbman
Israel Broussard as Carter Davis
Suraj Sharma as Samar Ghosh
Phi Vu as Ryan Phan
Sarah Yarkin as Andrea ‘Dre’ Morgan
Rachel Matthews as Danielle Bouseman
Happy Death Day 2U is a fast-paced horror, comedy, thriller, sci-fi romantic drama which is as confusing and messy as it is brilliant and entertaining.
Jessica Rothe is back as the resilient Tree, who discovers that surviving the Babyface Killer and 11 deaths in order to break the time loops in the first film, is just the beginning of a far more dangerous adventure that is about to unfold.
Once again produced by Jason Blum and with Christopher Landon returning to writing and directing duties, this sequel throws everything into the mix and makes no apologies for its wanton destruction of coherent narrative.
The film starts literally where the first film left off but this time it appears that instead of Tree being the victim of the time loops its Carter’s roommate Ryan (Phi Vu) who finds himself wishing he was purely suffering from a little déjà vu after a fun opening sequence. Not wishing to offend Vu, who is a fine actor, but when we discover that it will once again be Tree front and centre in this film it comes as a huge relief as this is clearly Rothe’s world. She steps back into the role with even more verve and comedic genius as she guides us through what is a truly fucked up narrative, so buckle up.
Although Tree thought she had solved the time loop nightmare she was living in in the first film by discovering the identity of her killer, we find that the continuing looping is a result of a science experiment that Ryan and his science nerd friends Samar (Sharma) and Dre (Yarkin) have been tinkering away with on campus – the unlikely scenario of these kids creating something of a scientific miracle sets things up nicely for what is to come. Question nothing!
What follows is a very funny and clever plot that combines the madness of Back to the Future II with the slasher smarts of Scream with even more inventive deaths for Tree that will have you laughing through your fingers in shock as she resets the many loops.
Once again there is a killer on the loose and Tree must convince her new friends of what is happening to her; this makes for some nice moments between the team who need to find a way to stop the loops with some often-hilarious results.
There are simply not enough positive words in the dictionary to describe Jessica Rothe, who is effortlessly funny and endlessly watchable, which is lucky given the repetitive nature of the story. Her ability to switch from comedic to dramatic delivery in some of the many emotional scenes is a joy to watch and she helps lift the film to heights probably not expected for a sequel of this nature.
Happy Death Day 2U is truly infectious, and its ability to switch genres before your very eyes is glorious. At points you are pulled into the emotion of Tree’s journey, as she has to wrestle with whether to reset the loop or stay in the existing one where things are working out better for her. It is sometimes easy therefore to forget you’re watching what is essentially a slasher movie, but once the Babyface Killer pops up you’re whipped back in the other direction faster than a killer’s stabbing-frenzy and it’s this rollercoaster style of filmmaking that is sure to have fans getting straight back into the queue for more, and with rumours of this story becoming a trilogy, its not time to put that babyface mask away just yet.
Given its 100min running time it seems almost inconceivable that there is also time for a heist sub-plot which gives more, and welcome, screen time to ‘be-atch’ Danielle (Matthews) who gets her chance to shine and show off her comedic prowess in a hilarious scene between her and Dean Roger Bronson, played by Steve Zissus, who stars as an unlikely but very funny antagonist to our heroes.
I don’t think I could spoil the plot even if I tried but do make sure you see the first film before you delve into 2U or you’ll be staring at it like a dog who’s been shown a card trick.
Remember how you felt at the end of Inception? You’ll feel this and more, leaving the cinema with a great big grin on your face in a state of giddy confusion, and it’s wonderful.
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