Producer Jason Blumhouse is the modern-day horror king with franchises like Insidious, The Purge and Paranormal Activity, but the Hollywood mogul has some fun with his new tale of terror Happy Death Day directed by Christopher Landon. This movie is a horror version of Groundhog Day and even acknowledges the Bill Murray classic in the film as its inspiration with a little millennial commentary added in.
Happy Death Day deals with the murderous loop college student Tree Gelbman finds herself in waking up on her birthday with a hangover and in a bed that’s not hers. Newcomer Jessica Rothe plays our victim who’s not too nice to the people around her and doesn’t seem to care about anyone else, but herself. Her punishment for being a bad person is to be killed over and over again on her birthday which seems kind of harsh, but creates some moments of dark humor fun as she meets her repeated demise.
With a PG-13 rating, Happy Death Day is quite tame compared to some of the other films in the Blumhouse library, yet still manages a few good scares and creates a creepy new villain in the form of the Baby Face Killer. The content does push the limits of the PG-13 rating, but it’s easy to wonder if an R rating could have made this film a better experience for hardcore horror fans. Happy Death Day definitely caters to a younger audience that ranges from middle school to college age viewers looking for some scares during the Halloween season.
Happy Death Day has a good time playing it safe by horror movie standards and mocking the genre itself with masked killers who came out of nowhere to slash the damsel in distress. Jessica Rothe delivers a performance that will likely land her bigger roles down the road as she creates a great character to watch as she tries to unravel the mystery of who wants her dead while trying to become better human being in the process. Happy Death Day may not be original, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an enjoyable time at the movies for people looking for cheap thrills that are light on the gore.
Overall, I give Happy Death Day 2.75 out of 4 stars.
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