Happy Death Day 2U (2019)
Director(s): Christopher Landon
Writer(s): Christopher Landon, Scott Lobdell
Starring: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Phi Vu
How much love can the vault give director, Christopher Landon? ALL THE LOVE HE DESERVES. Just a quick reminder; Landon’s gift is taking tried and true movie tropes and turning them into horror gems that are equally fun as they are bloody and the real winners are always the audience. I’m working my way backwards through his first three wicked offerings; with already having written about his latest flick, FREAKY (Click that LINK Sucka!) that took the familiar swapping bodies movie plot line and turning it into a bloody wonderful masterpiece.
For this entry however, we look into his second offering which was the follow up to his first offering, Happy Death Day that took the familiar time-loop plot line and turned it into one of the most entertaining horror flicks of this new generation. His vision and love for familiar plot lines is done out of respect and not an ounce of cynicism is seen throughout his movies. It’s obvious that he grew up watching classics that may have repeated the same sort of stories but now have a new lease on life through the lens of horror. Happy Death Day 2U however is a master class on how to make sequels with the right amount of balance of trying something new while still respectfully building what came beforehand.
So how do you follow up a flick that defined a new genre of horror? Well, for starters, you go big on concept. At the very least, go big on CONCEPT. I mean, if you go big on the special effects, gore, twists (all things this sequel has for sure), that is more than fine BUT the first thing you should expand on is the concept. The first flick introduces the simple but genius concept of a gal waking up everyday at the same date/time stuck in a loop of time…oh and someone wearing a creepy baby mask is also trying to kill her every day as well, that old chestnut.
It’s definitely a fun concept that made for a great horror flick (more on that when I finally get to the first flick in the vault). So to build on that concept, they explain how this loop was achieved int he first place while still craftily incorporating the horror and mystery that keeps the audience guessing on the killer and the motives of the killer. While the first flick focused on the horror of it all and the time loop was more of a plot device, this flick focuses on the plot device and equally gives time for suspense, gore and even mystery.
The cast lead by the ultra-talented Jessica Rothe as Tree does a great job interacting with both familiar faces and new cast members since, like the first flick, she’s constantly having to explain the situation since the day starts over the minute she’s killed (in fun and hilarious ways by the way). The concept of the first flick is also organically expanded by the idea of alternate timelines. Since the first movie ended with a nice lesson in life which results in her finding love and being true to herself, the second flick picks up where the first one ends and introduces the hurdle of trying to regain everything she got from the first movie. In the alternate timelines, her boyfriend is no longer with her, the killer may not be the killer and her life might actually be better off in this new world. On top of all that, the movie still escalates in a fun way without it ever feeling lost or superfluous. We learn more about the actual cause of the time loop and weaves it seamlessly with the current horror “Who Dunnit” horror plot line that still has the creepy baby masked killer stalking Tree and her friends.
This movie has such balance when it comes to expanding on a great concept but never falling into the trap of adding too much plot, characters, effects, etc. It seems everything was done with just enough crazy to make it entertaining but still reminds you that this flick was made purely FOR FUN. You find yourself rooting for the characters to not only find out who the killer is but also get back to the timeline that was established in the end of the first flick (okay, that sentence alone is starting to get me confused on the timelines). This movie even gives the right amount of Easter eggs to show you where the third flick is leading and yes, let’s all pray to the horror deities that a third flick is coming!
See you folks when we go over the flick that started it all for Mr. Landon and let’s all get lost in a time loop!
Life is FAR more interesting when we take interest in things that scare us.