Happy Death Day (2017) Review

Miranda Curnutt, Author

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[spoilers]

Happy Death Day, starring Jessica Rothe and Israel Broussard, and directed by Christopher B. Landon, is a horror movie where stuck-up sorority girl Teresa gets murdered on her birthday by an unknown person in a baby face mask–only to wake up after her murder and be forced to live the same day over again, stuck in a time loop. Through the process of her many murders, and the desperate search to find who killed her from a large pool of suspects, Teresa starts to piece together the mystery and take a new look at her life and the way she’s lived it.

I watched this movie in theaters with a group of friends, and it definitely had its good parts–but also its bad parts. To start off with the negative things: if you hadn’t guessed from the description, this movie is a little ridiculous. The time loop plot is interesting, but largely unexplained–Teresa never quite finds out what causes her “Death Day” to repeat over and over again. The baby-face-masked killer is creepy in half-lit and shadowy, abandoned places, where most of the scenes take place, but is just comical when stripped of these elements, evident in a scene where the killer chases Teresa through a fully lit car park ramp. I was close to laughter at the absurdity of a fully grown person in a baby mask, and so were the other people in the theater. The movie wasn’t that scary (saying that as a someone who is freaked out very easily), so if you’re looking for a good scare, this movie isn’t it. And finally, the twist ending seems forced and unrealistic, like the writer of the movie was just trying to keep the audience on their toes, not come up with an ending that seems tangible in the general plot of the movie.

However, overall, the movie was better than I thought it would be. There were a couple jump scares that I didn’t see coming, which added to the spooky elements of the movie. Even though Teresa is snotty and selfish, by the end she’s grown into a character that you root for–you want to see her solve the mystery of her own murder. The acting is good enough that the movie isn’t painful to watch. And although the movie isn’t scary, maybe it wasn’t meant to be; the movie reads more as a teen movie than a horror flick. Everyone I saw the movie with agreed that it wasn’t amazing but was definitely fun to watch. In the end, this movie is nice to make fun of with friends–and get jump-scared along the way.

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