Courtesy of Tribune News Service

'Happy Death Day' sequel is unnecessary, yet entertaining

Movie: “Happy Death Day 2U”

Release Date: Feb. 13, 2019

Run Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Rating: C-

Director Christopher Landon, notorious for his horror-based films, returns with the sequel to his 2017 film “Happy Death Day” alongside the same cast. The second film attempts to continue the storyline of the first film, picking up right where it left off. 

The plot of the first film follows birthday girl Tree Gelbman, played by Jessica Rothe, a spiteful college student who experiences a Groundhog Day effect with a twist. In order to break out of the cycle of reliving the same day, she has to unmask her murderer that put her into the time loop in the first place. In the second film, Tree is willingly sucked back into the continuous loop of déjà vu, only this time she bravely travels to another dimension in order to rescue her friends and restore her own reality. In this dimension, her life changes for both better and worse, burdening Tree with a difficult decision of which dimension to stay in.

Although the sequel ties up some loose ends that left viewers confused from the first installment, the answers seem almost overly resolved. The film caters mostly towards entertainment purposes over logical sense, thus making the first film a comical thriller that was fine without the explanation as to why Tree was living the same day repeatedly.

However, the second film overdevelops these answers, introducing more conflict to the plot than it could handle. If the plot had been cut in half, the story would have flowed better. Instead, the film gives viewers unnecessary information that could have easily been left out.

Tree’s character in the first film had a nice balance of a strong-willed nature with a biting attitude, but turned soft towards the end of the film in an attempt for writers to better her character. This carried on into the second film, ultimately making her a less interesting character. If her personality had not changed so drastically, then it would have added the extra spice the film needed to make up for the poorly written plot. However, for a film that is mainly meant for pure entertainment, its surprising emotional appeal is commendable. Rothe puts on a strong performance that makes it easy to become attached to her character.

Ultimately, the film is entertaining enough in the thriller aspect, but fails to fulfill the potential the first movie set it up for.


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