I have been a horror flick junkie since I can remember – one of the first being Stanley Kubricks classic ‘ the Shining’ and I have since been on an ongoing quest to find something that can at least achieve the same amount of genius, if not horror value which Kubrick originally inspired. Upon discovering the plot, while I wasn’t necessarily expecting the same thing, I did look forward to some good old classic heart-thumping moments.
Happy Death Day centres around sorority member Tree, who finds herself completely dishevelled in nerdy Carters’ dorm room. Hungover and disoriented, she is painfully reminded that it also happens to be her birthday when her phone blasts the ringtone “Happy Birthday”. Having believed that her and Carter (who is also not her league) had spent the night together, she flees the room in a hurried panic. The day follows with a series of events which lead to a party organized by her sorority. On her way to the house, she discovers a lonesome musical box which eerily plays the “Happy Birthday” song. Alone in the dark and uncomfortably vulnerable to her surroundings, Tree is confronted by a masked figure who also happens to mimic the gestures of the classic ‘Scream’ murderer. When push leads to shove, Tree is eventually killed and wakes up to the same exact predicament she found herself the morning of her birthday.
Reminiscent of the film “Groundhog Day’, Tree relives the same day over and over and over. And over – until she becomes determined to figure out who killed her and why this is happening in the first place. After experiencing a Eureka moment, Tree not only discovers who her killer is but undergoes an epiphany where she realizes the kind of person she was before she was killed and the way she had treated those around her. Rarely do we see a thorough in depth look at a protagonists’ background story when dealing with horror films – but suffice it to say, we see Tree embark on a journey of self-discovery even if it involves her being repeatedly murdered.
The ending though, delivered all of the cliches and even immature predictable qualities a slasher flick usually delivers. While the plot and movie barely slid past as acceptable, I found Jessica Rothe’s portrayal of Tree to be very convincing and if anything, she helped carry the movie along with her impressive acting.
October is supposed to be the month of horror, and with Halloween just around the corner, fans of the spooky celebrations love turning to the cinema for some creepy inspiration and scares. Don’t expect that with Happy Death Day. An interesting premise, somewhat already borrowed and used – did very little to keep clinging to the edge of my seat. In fact, I was too relaxed for something that is otherwise supposed to keep me awake at night and sleep with the lights on. But don’t dismiss it either, it could be kind of fun to see for the hell of it.
Universal Pictures releases Happy Death Day on Friday, October 13, 2017
[Review by Alessia Youkhanna]