Get Out did a lot of things for movies in 2017. It started the year off with a bang (a bang that I think Split also helped open) where it was definitely some sort of horror film, but with other genres molded into it. The comedy elements that normally turn something into a parody film were present, helpful, but not overshadowing.
Those movies helped pave the way for something like Happy Death Day to be released. A film taking a familiar concept (reliving a day over and over) and tacking on a serial killer. Great. We have a reason for the day to be relived, we have a horror element which is new, and we have a goddamn mystery.
I remember missing this movie earlier in the year because four screenings were happening at the same time, so I ended up picking Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, which honestly still feels like the right move. But I had high hopes for this film, let’s just say that.
I also had high hopes for a big lavish birthday cake, but fuck me right?
Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) has a stupid name, but that won´t bring her down. She is in college, she is smart enough, she likes to drink and party and is in an amazing sorority. She is sleeping with a professor for grades (And love?), and yes, it is in fact her birthday.
She woke up unfortunately not in her own bed, but in the bed of some boy named Carter (Israel Broussard). She doesn´t know him, she was drunk, clearly mistakes were made. Oh well, she can walk of shame it to her house for her birthday, no biggy. She just has to deal with other dumb college people, her annoying roommate (Ruby Modine), trying to sex up her professor (Charles Aitkin) without his wife (Laura Clifton) knowing, and of course, dealing with Sorority Drama.
But on the way to what is most certainly a surprise party for her, something strange happens. She gets murdered by someone in a big baby mask, straight up killed. And after she dies, she wakes up, back in Carter´s bed, confused and scared. Thinking it is some really intense dejavu, she goes on like normal, only changing up her route to the party, and sure enough, she finds herself dead, again, and back in Carter´s room. Oh no.
For some reason, Tree is dying every night by someone murdering her in the face, and she is waking up each day, more and more tired and concerned for her safety. She has to enlist help to determine who the killer is, but it is like everyone she needs to help her has short term memory. It sucks. Worst birthday ever.
Baby got a bat, better run run run.
Overall, I found Happy Death Day to be pretty disappointing.
When it comes to uniqueness, it only is unique in that the other repeated day stories and movies did not have horror elements. Or at least that wasn’t their main element. But can a repeated day film really be that scary? Well, for the most part, there will not be a sense of surprise. We know that she makes it until the end of the day, and unless it is purely random when she gets stabbed (it isn’t), then we know when to expect stabbing. It is hard to get scared in these situations, so the movie doesn’t work well as a horror.
On the comedy side, it too was weak. Most of the comedy came from the occasional weird kill, but a lot of it was just regular interactions between college students. Parts were amusing, but nothing really would cause someone to laugh out loud. As you can see, this is a multi-genre film that doesn’t really do great at any genre.
The main character is such a lame character, that no one would ever root for her. She is a mean sorority girl, and frankly, her getting killed doesn’t seem like a big deal. We can have films about unlikable characters, but that doesn’t mean we should want to root for them.
The ending is also a dud, where the main red hearing based solution is just so nonsensical, it is annoying how they wasted so much time on it. Any viewer would know it is incorrect, but we have to suffer through almost 30 minutes (it feels like) on that notion that it is excruciating.
Happy Death Day is a movie with a good idea, just terrible execution all around.