I only saw the first Happy Death Day a couple of months ago, but it wound up being an incredibly pleasant surprise. It’s got a lot of charm and fun to it, mainly thanks to a brilliant lead performance from Jessica Rothe as Tree Gelbman.
That said it was not left in a place that was really opened up for a sequel, it was a nicely resolved Groundhog Day-esq premise built into a slasher film, and that doesn’t leave huge room to maneuver. Thankfully, the team behind the film managed to find an interesting new take on the idea, that keeps a film with an inherently repetitive premise from becoming truly repetitive.
But for those hoping for an outright slasher you will be sorely disappointed. The first film was mostly a slasher, but with a good deal of teen comedy thrown in with it. Happy Death Day 2U moves even further away from the original slasher premise, and dabbled in Sci-Fi drama. Where the film really excels is the choice it lays at Tree’s feet as she must choose the life she’s known.
It’s certainly far from flawless, it creates a couple of narrative threads early on that it ends up leaving hanging, possibly in anticipation of a third film. And it would be a shame if that was the case, particularly given the avenue they suggest they will go in the film’s post credit scene. That said I felt the same way about the original film, and if they can find a fun and new way to take the franchise it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that a third could be just as good.
Much like the first Happy Death Day 2U is a fun and different kind of take on the slasher genre. Whilst it has strayed further from the horror origins and the mystery elements of the first that has only managed to make it more original.