Starring: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine
Director: Christopher Landon
Running Time: 96 mins
Happy Death Day is an American film about a university student who finds herself stuck in an endless loop of the day of her murder, only able to escape when she finds her killer’s identity.
Yes, it’s another Groundhog Day. Now, with that out of the way, I can say that Happy Death Day isn’t only a hugely entertaining watch, with great comedy and intriguing thrills throughout, but also one of the sweetest, most heartfelt ‘horror’ movies you’re ever likely to see, combining the same fable-like drama as Groundhog Day with genuinely touching drama and wonderfully uplifting character development right the way through.
What’s even better about Happy Death Day is that no matter how you want to watch it – whether it be as a pure horror movie, another Groundhog Day or something completely different – you’ll still be pulled in by its infectiously positive mentality and heartfelt emotion.
The movie does start off as a rather predictable play on the Groundhog Day premise, but as it starts to stretch its leegs with its own characters, it develops into something that both has an intrigue of its own, as well as uniquely uplifting brand of emotion that you really wouldn’t expect to see from a self-styled horror film.
Not only sitting with the premise of becoming a better person to find a way out of the endless day, Happy Death Day brings added intrigue into the mix as our main character is forced to uncover the identity of the person who keeps killing her every night. As a result, each day features a great build-up to the eventual killing (which becomes more and more convoluted and ludicrous each time), while also building a good air of mystery into the story.
But along with that, the story still works as a delightful fable that follows a vacuous, selfish college girl begin to see who she really is and change for the better, developing a strong relationship with the guy who was set to be her one-night stand and finally recognising the toxic environment that she’s been living in and adding to all these years.
Much like Groundhog Day, then, Happy Death Day has a wonderful moral to its story that really made me smile. And, when coupled with an infectiously funny sense of humour and a hugely likable lead performance from Jessica Rothe, the film becomes a truly delightful watch, with all the anarchic energy of a great comedy-horror, but with a purely good emotional and moral core as well.
All in all, I was really impressed by Happy Death Day. Not only a fun, intriguing horror movie, it’s one of the most surprisingly heartfelt and sweet films you’ll ever see from the genre. With a fantastic lead turn, great humour and a wonderful moral to its story, it’s a film I really enjoyed, both thanks to its entertaining horror and wonderfully positive emotion and morals, and that’s why I’m giving Happy Death Day a 7.7 overall.