By Will Patterson
“Happy Death Day” is the film industry’s latest take of “Groundhog Day,” but spookier.As the Halloween season comes to a close, so does 2017’s prime horror movie season—and not on the strongest note.
The main character of “Happy Death Day,”Tree(Jessica Rothe), is a college student attending classes at Bayfield University.Her day begins by waking up in classmate Carter’s (Israel Broussard) dormroom. From there things get weird.
Tree finds herself being murdered and then waking up again in Carter’s dorm. This continues to repeat throughout the entire course of the movie as Tree seeks to solve and prevent her own death.
Despite a potentially feasible concept, the movie ultimately loses traction with unrealistic characters and crazy mood shifts. Motives make little to no sense throughout the movie.Characters act on whims and put together impossibly complex situations without the context that the audience has.
Predictability was one of the many shortcomings in “Happy Death Day”—which was bound to happen with a plot focused on asinglerepeating day.Even then,the movie does very little to diversify each “time loop.”
One of the main issues of “Happy Death Day” is that the film doesn’t know what it wants to be. At first, it’s easy to believe that the movie is a horror flick—much like what the trailer pitched it as. However, as the plot rolls out,audience members will have a harder time trying to pin down the genre. Creative indecisivenessis the downfall of “Happy Death Day.” The genres simply don’t meld together.
As always, a forced and strange love interest subplot never helps make a mediocre move better, in fact,it almost always makes it worse. Tree’s urge to fall in love with the “perfect guy” whilst living a literal nightmare makes for a tasteless and surreal movie watching experience.
Despite the glaring issues, “Happy Death Day” still had an impressive production. The acting was well done, a fact that is lost on most horror movies.Rothe does well inherrole as an unraveling and changing college student. While her character motives appear to be completely irrational at times, shedoes an excellent job of pulling it off.
It’s also worth noting how well the camera work and editing is done. In a time where many horror moviesare opting to have handheld camerawork to “immerse” audiences, it is important to appreciate the movies that use professionalfilming crews. The editing stiches these scenes together with some captivating transitions worthy of praise.
For the horror movie enthusiast, “Happy Death Day” can be a definite pass. While it made a feeble attempt, it ultimately failed to break new ground in this year’s horror season.