“Happy Death Day” is another horror movie that relies more on jump scares than actually giving any real sense of fear. However, where it lacks in scares it makes up for in its comedic undertone that lasts throughout the film.
“Happy Death Day” is an interesting take on another classic film, “Groundhog Day,” where the main character must relive the same day repeatedly and tries to figure how to stop it. However, in this telling our protagonist is a self-centered college sorority girl named Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe). Gelbman wakes up in the room of fellow college student Carter Davis (Israel Broussard) on her birthday and that night she is met by her killer, who is wearing a mask of their school’s mascot. She wakes up to all the same events of the previous day including her own death. She finds out through Davis that the only way for her to stop the cycle is to find out who her murderer is and how to stop them before they do it again. The story begins to have a more comedic feel to it after this, as she realizes that no one will remember what she does and that she has unlimited lives, though she does get slightly weaker after each death. Whether that means randomly attacking people to find out who’s the killer or walking through campus butt naked, Gelban acts without consequence in ways we’ve all wanted to at least once.
One of the major problems with this film as a horror movie was that it seemed to be very predictable with many of the twists or surprises being easy to guess. However, this flaw had one glimmer of hope as the ending of the film shocked most of the audience, who at the theater even gave audible gasps.
The film’s savior was most of its comedic parts. Many of the characters are laughable stereotypes that were made fun of just enough to still be considered funny rather than being as played out as usual. Characters like the queen bee of the sorority, Danielle Bouseman (Rachael Mathews), who is the usual stereotypical sorority girl and Davis, who is the stereotypical nice boy, are played to their stereotypes in a way that almost makes fun of them while still taking the roles seriously.
Overall this film is simply okay. The film is composed of horror that relies solely on jump scares, but comedy that will make you laugh throughout most of the film. With that being said, if you are on the fence about going to see it in theatres, you’re better off skipping it and waiting until its DVD/Blu-ray release.