Imagine, you would be reliving your birthday over and over again. What would you expect? Presents, party, fun? Actually, party girl Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) would think the same. But her birthday seems to be “the first day of the end of her life”. Therefore, Tree has to celebrate again and again a Happy Death Day.
HAPPY DEATH DAY – THE STORY
Happy Death Day follows a story that reminds of “Groundhog Day” with Bill Murray and, moreover, the “Edge of Tomorrow” with Tom Cruise. Similarly to these films, the good-looking but arrogant college student Tree wakes up in the early morning. It’s Monday, September 18, her birthday.
She wakes up in the dorm room of Carter, a guy who she met at a wild party last night. Later, on the way to her birthday party, Tree meets a guy whose covers his face with a mask of the campus mascot. Shocked, she must recognize that she has met her murderer.
But, Tree wakes up in Carters room again. While walking to her sorority house, she experiences the same things as a day before. And again, her murderer is waiting for her in the evening. So, Tree is trapped in a time loop. She relives the same day again and again, just to be killed in the evening again.
JESSICA ROTHE (TREE)
In contrast to its name, Happy Death Day surprises with a living story as well as fresh faces. Above all, Jessica Rothe dominates the movie brilliantly.
Her change from a superficial, cold hearted college bitch to a humble, warm hearted and loveable girl is credible and entertaining. Moreover, even at the beginning of the film, she plays the spoiled cheeky lass with such a passion, that it’s a true pleasure to watch her.
Jessica Rothe played alongside Emma Stone in La La Land last year. Like Stone, she represents a new generation of actresses; authentic, cheeky but down-to-earth. She combines humor, vulnerability, determination, spontaneity, cockiness and sensuality with distinction. Therefore, she was the perfect match for the role of the cheeky but sensitive college student Tree.
Those, who compare Happy Death Day with Scream or similar movies, are wrong. The film is neither a college comedy nor a horror movie. Happy Death Day walks the line between different genres skillfully. It plays with clichés here and there. But, it happens always on an acceptable level, never too much, never too less.
Christopher Landon wrote Happy Death Day. He also directed this skillful ridge walk and high level of entertainment. Before, he was responsible for scripts of successful films like “Disturbia” (2007), 4 parts of “Paranormal Activity” (210-2014) and “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” (2015). Especially, the latter and Disturbia showed, that Landon is able to handle a balance between thrill and comedy.
Furthermore, he has the talent to cast excellent actors to present in-depth characters in an entertaining way. Especially in the genre of college horror films, Happy Death Day is an exception.
Of course, HAPPY DEATH DAY isn’t a very profound film. It’s an entertaining movie, nothing more and nothing less. However, it’s funny to watch Tree, when she tries to change the day. It’s entertaining to watch her when she tries to make things better, or to understand the happening and her own life.
Compared to the current Christmas comedies Bad Moms 2 or Daddy’s Home 2, HAPPY DEATH DAY is much better than that competitors. Because of its lightness and humor, the brilliant Jessica Rothe and the smart story we can recommend to watching this small but nice movie.
All Pictures © Universal Pictures