BY KAREN SUROS
This article contains spoilers
“Happy Death Day” resurfaced with a sequel, “Happy Death Day 2U,” on February 13. The mystery-slasher hybrid is rated PG-13 and follows Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) as she navigates her way through a time loop— again.
For those who have seen the first movie, it may appear to be a tired subject. Watching a mean sorority girl get killed is only fun for so long, especially after she’s already undergone the character development to become a decent person. However, the film starts off with the fresh perspective of Ryan Phan (Phi Vu), who is the roommate of Tree’s love interest Carter (Israel Broussard). It looks as though it is his turn to relive his death over and over again.
This reveals a truth that the first movie conveniently forgot to mention: the reason for the time loop is not some cosmic power designed to give Tree a wake-up call, but rather a glorified science project affectionately referred to as “Sissy.” Sissy is the brainchild of Ryan and his pals Samar (Suraj Sharma) and Andrea (Sarah Yarkin).
Watching a mean sorority girl get killed is only fun for so long, especially after she’s already undergone the character development to become a decent person.
Long story short, in trying to fix his predicament, well-intentioned Ryan lands Tree in her own… for the second time. Do not fret; now, there are certain variations that are worth giving the film a watch.
“Happy Death Day 2U” can more or less be understood with just a brief synopsis of “Happy Death Day,” but the self-aware film still makes plenty of references to its first installment. Carter and Ryan even bring up just how similar their conflict is to 1989’s “Back to the Future Part II.”
Over the course of the movie, Tree deals with such inconveniences as repeatedly dying, grappling with difficult decisions and memorizing mass amounts of data, in the hopes of escaping the endlessly frustrating time loop. Rothe brings out the best of her character, somehow seamlessly transitioning from angry to sentimental.
Although it is advertised as a slasher film, a title it lives up to more or less, “Happy Death Day 2U” includes a variety of genres under a wide umbrella, much like its predecessor. One minute it is a mystery, the next a comedy
One minute it is a mystery, the next a comedy and the next a romance.
It may feel odd for a slasher film to make its debut the same week as Valentine’s Day, but in reality, what better way is there to cuddle up to a Valentine than to scare them into one’s arms?
Additionally, the movie at its core might as well be a romantic comedy. Carter and Tree have an adorably undeniable chemistry. Broussard plays the role of “happy-go-lucky” Carter well enough for the audience to get just a little attached.
“Happy Death Day 2U” has a little something for everyone. If anyone happens to have an hour and 40 minutes to kill, they would be doing themselves a favor by giving the film a chance.
Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures