Happy Death Day 2U (2019): Film Review
Upon my first viewing of the original Happy Death Day film back in 2017, I absolutely hated it. I thought the action was diluted, the plot was absolutely bonkers, and there was no excitement in the film. But, for some odd reason that I can't fully explain, I got insanely happy when I saw the out-of-nowhere trailer for Happy Death Day 2U, the film's sequel, appear on the screen before Halloween. Although I didn't like the film, the characters were just interesting enough to make the story run freely. A few weeks before I saw the second film, I decided to rewatch the original, to see if my feelings had changed. They sure had. Upon second viewing, I was able to finally see Happy Death Day for what it truly was - unbearably stupid, but fun. The second film in the "maybe-soon-to-be trilogy" follows a similar path in its predecessors footsteps, but falls significantly short on delivering a key premise that the first one possessed - fun. Now, I'm not trying to say that 2U is a complete bore. Because, it's quite the opposite. Throughout the entire film, I was glued to the screen, waiting anxiously to see what would happen next to Tree and the gang. And, without going to into too many details, a certain montage involving Paramore proved for some of the best entertainment seen in a recent horror movie, by far (when you see the film, you will know. Trust me). But, while viewing the film, it is evident that the true originality and fun that the first film possessed is completely diluted down. The film feels like it is trying too hard to impress the viewer, and it all becomes so overboard all of the sudden. We came here to see some slasher fun, so why are you trying to show us more? As with the first, the highlight of the movie is Rothe's magnificent performance, who once again proves that she is more than a background actress. Practically on her own, she provides 100% of the entertainment associated with the film, and makes it so much better in every possible way. So, imagine my surprise when I find out that it's only about Tree in minor ways, while giving her less-fun co-stars an equal part of the spotlight. Spoiler alert: I was not happy. Although Rothe is still the center of the film (just like the first one), there are numerous sub-plots that revolve around everyone around her, which just isn't as fun to watch. It's like watching Gone Girl but without Rosamund Pike. The Happy Death Day universe needs Rothe to succeed, as she's the saving grace. So, why is she thrown away from the spotlight? It's important to understand that Happy Death Day 2U is not a bad movie. Just like the first, it is consistently entertaining, and provides a lot of fun in the theatre. The most disappointing part of the film is that it could have been so much more. The first film showed that a slasher film can defy all horror stereotypes and still be fun. My main question with the sequel is: why did it just resort back to those same stereotypes?