Caught in a bizarre and terrifying time warp, college student Tree finds herself repeatedly reliving the day of her murder, ultimately realizing that she must identify the killer and the reason for her death before her chances of survival run out.
This is my 100th movie review! Thank you to those who have stuck with me, and welcome to those who are just now joining me. It’s been a weird, rough, exciting, disturbing journey to get here and I hope the ride it just as unpredictable over the next 100 movie reviews. Some of you might have noticed the frequency in which I post reviews has increased substantially over the past few months, and I aim to keep that pace going strong. As long as they keep making the movies, I’ll keep reviewing them. Now, let’s get this review underway for a movie that didn’t actually turn out to be a horror movie.
For reasons unknown, young college student, Tree, (yes, that’s her real name), is doomed to relive the same day over and over again, each time ending with her dying in some fashion. Tree is your typical, pretentious, stuck-up sorority girl, complete with a judgmental and superficial personality. Each day, she seems to learn more about herself and gradually becomes less of a bitch and more of a decent person. The title, “Happy Death Day”, is an on-the-nose reference to the fact that the day she is constantly repeating – and dying on – is her birthday. During the day of her first “death”, we see how she manages to piss off so many people that it reducing the number of murder suspects proves to be a bigger chore than it should be. She continues repeating days, each time coming closer to unmasking her killer, but with each death she comes back a little weaker, putting a potential countdown on her apparent immortality.
I want to make it clear that this was not a bad movie by any means, but it was also not a horror or scary movie by any standard of the definition. Marketing for this movie constantly played on TV and Facebook and every media outlet, showing how scary and suspenseful this movie was supposed to be, but I have to disappoint you and tell you this is not the case. IMDb classifies this as a “horror mystery thriller”, but I would say this is actually a “suspenseful comedy drama”. Granted, the first few times Tree dies are suspenseful and at times scary, but beyond that this film turns into a comedic drama about Tree bettering herself and growing as a person, while forming a better relationship with her father and coming to terms with how awful she used to be. Once you get passed the initial disappointment of this not being a scary movie, you will find yourself just enjoying the film for being what it is – a source of entertainment. Some might go as far as to say it is a “chick-flick”, and my wife – who despises horror movies – enjoyed this thoroughly as a romantic comedy.
Once Tree becomes aware of her odd predicament, she begins preparing herself to unmask and defeat her killer, complete with musical montages set to scenes of her dying and training and dying and training, with some comedic relief in between. During this time, she betters herself personally, gradually becoming a nicer, more helpful version of her former self. Instead of being disappointed by the marketing “switcheroo” pulled on me, I decided to just let myself enjoy this as a Sunday evening comedy with dark enough undertones to pass for a Halloween weekend film. I would say this is an enjoyable movie to watch with friends or family, and even with those who aren’t typically into scary movies will find this entertaining. Sometimes, it’s nice to find movies like this that don’t try so hard to be a horror movie and instead just tries to be a good overall movie. It was a nice break from the typical garbage horror that Hollywood spews out all too often.
I can’t finish this review without mentioning “Groundhog Day”, as everyone is aware of the obvious reference to it here. Even the filmmaker’s included a nod to the Bill Murray classic in the final scene of this film, saying Tree’s situation was exactly like that of Bill Murray. Much like that film, we are given no explanation as to why this is happening to Tree, so we’re left to assume it is due to divine intervention in order to save her from her killer and her former self. I won’t spoil who the killer is, which is unlike me, because I don’t want to ruin the movie for you, but going back and watching it again I will say there are several things leading up to the reveal that make it obvious during the second time around. The twist is good, the acting is great, and the movie was a pleasant surprise – albeit an unnecessarily falsely marketed one.
This movie is…
While not a horror movie, it did provide entertainment and was a lot of fun to watch.
Cheers and goodnight.