Happy Death Day (2017): Film Review
Horror is always a safe genre to guarantee a lot of money. That is why horror movies have been on the rise throughout the past few years, with more and more films of the genre coming out. There is good and bad to this rise. The good, new ideas are coming out, and new ways to scare audiences without always reaching for pop-out scares. Such examples of these movies are the 2017 rendition of It, and the box office flop mother!. The bad part: a good amount of bad horror movies are sprinkled in with the good ones, such as films like Friend Request, A Cure For Wellness, or Rings. Just like the genre of horror in general, Christopher Landon's Happy Death Day has aspects that are great, and aspects that are horrible. The film tells the story of Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe, La La Land), an insanely popular student at a small college in Louisiana. Celebrating her birthday, she has a very mellow day, until the very end, when she gets killed by a random person in a mask of their school mascot - a baby. Right as the gets killed, she wakes up again, and lives the same day. Every time she gets killed, the day resets, and she has to work to find the killer before time runs out, and she dies for real. It is Groundhog Day, with a splash of horror in it. Let's start with the good aspects of the film. Firstly, the idea is very original. Although we have seen films with the idea of living the same day over again, such as the Bill Murray classic Groundhog Day, or the early 2017 teenager film Before I Fall, we have never seen this idea mixed with horror. The plot keeps the film entertaining, and the film is filled with scares and comedic moments blended together. Rothe fits into the role of a college sorority girl perfectly, and plays it to the best of her ability. The film ceases to bore, with new ideas reigning constantly, and heavy plot twists near the end. The film is as scary as the plot allows it to be, with the scariest part being the killer's mask itself. The runtime isn't too long (96 minutes), which is nice because it shows that the film knows that is going to be a stupid horror movie with comedic tones, and it achieves that goal. And that leads into why the film isn't very good: stupidity. The film, including the acting and storyline, is downright dumb. Although the idea is original, and the film is entertaining, that doesn't make it a good movie. A majority of the film is Gelbman complaining about how it sucks to live the same day over and over again. After a while, everyone is thinking: "we get it, now actually solve this mystery already!" Also, the plot tangles in itself, opening a lot of doors and not giving enough information to close these doors. Therefore, by the time the credits role, if you think too much about the film, it will just leave you confused and agitated. Thank God the film is only 96 minutes, because any more minutes and my head would have exploded. I felt like I was losing brain cells listening to the dialogue and the way the script was written. Besides the idea, Rothe's performance, and the fact that the film is pretty entertaining, the film is not very good. But, the three good aspects mentioned above keep it from being on the same level as a terrible horror film. Therefore, Happy Death Day isn't amazing nor average, but is far from being a terrible film.