Review: Happy Death Day

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Review: Happy Death Day

Tree, the main character of the movie, played by Jessica Roth, terrified by what is in front of her.

Tree, the main character of the movie, played by Jessica Roth, terrified by what is in front of her.

Credit: Vimeo

Tree, the main character of the movie, played by Jessica Roth, terrified by what is in front of her.

Credit: Vimeo

Credit: Vimeo

Tree, the main character of the movie, played by Jessica Roth, terrified by what is in front of her.

Christos Belibasakis

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*Spoiler alert!*
Happy Death Day, directed by Christopher B. Landon, delivers viewers a darker version of the 1993 cult classic Groundhog Day. Jessica Roth plays Tree Gelbman, a self-centered sorority sister. Tree wakes up hungover in a dorm room on her birthday and quickly departs, going on with the rest of her day. Little does she know, however, that a baby-masked murderer will kill her on the way to her surprise birthday party. Instead of dying, however, Tree wakes up in a déjà vu reality in which her day is exactly the same, and she always suffers a violent death. Throughout these repetitions, Tree finds herself waking up weaker and weaker, and she finds new information about her mystery killer. She finds herself in a race against time, with the cycle only coming to an end when she can learn the identity of her killer.

If you are looking to watch a horror film, look somewhere else. While the trailer and Friday the 13th release date might have fooled some viewers, this film falls short of being scary. The movie labels itself as a thriller, with the mystery of who the killer is and what their motives might be are tied into the plot. Thrown in throughout the movie was a surprisingly large amount of comedy, played out through Tree’s sorority sisters and college campus weirdos.

At times, the movie does have an exciting plot, especially when Tree’s repetitive days take new twists and turns as she struggles to find the identity of her killer. However, I felt left with the feeling that there was a lack of development in the plot. The only character it really explores is Tree herself, which makes it difficult to understand the motives of other characters. Furthermore, many of the other characters seem like they are fillers who are only there to move the plot along.

While the overall plot development could have used some work, there were two subplots in the movie that were entertaining to follow. Tree finds that the mysterious dorm room that she wakes up in belongs to Carter, whom she met the night before. Even though at the beginning of the movie Tree doesn’t want to be associated with him, Carter is the only person that listens to her story about the repetitions.

Another entertaining subplot is the development of Tree’s character. At first Tree is rude to her roommate, Lori Spengler, and pretty much to everyone else she talks to. Every day starts with a birthday phone call from her dad, and she repeatedly doesn’t respond to the calls or her dad’s messages. But later on, Tree realizes that she is a bad person, and it was vital to improve as a person for her to break the cycle. This development was very effective in progressing the plot.

The biggest problem with Happy Death Day is the ending. While the identity of the killer is a plot twist that nobody could have seen coming, it didn’t make any sense. We learn that the killer is Lori all along, Tree’s perky roommate. Tree finds out that Lori has been trying to poison her with a poisoned birthday cupcake, and when Tree didn’t eat it, she would come back at night to murder her. Lori’s reason for doing so made no sense; she was killing Tree over a boy who made not even the tiniest impact on the plot.

All in all, Happy Death Day is an exciting thriller even though it has some holes in its plot. Just don’t expect to be scared.

Rating: 6/10

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