A Slasher Film That Will Leave You Smiling | Review of ‘Happy Death Day’


By Cynthia Ayala

Happy Death Day starring Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Rachel Matthews & Charles Aitken Universal Pictures Image Credit: IMDB

“A college student must relive the day of her murder over and over again, in a loop that will end only when she discovers her killer’s identity.” —IMDB

When it comes to horror movies I have to say that I generally keep my expectations low. Happy Death Day had such an interesting premise that gave me hope. And let me just say I absolutely loved this film. I was finally able to see it a week ago but writing a review on time slipped my mind. So as I resolved to post it on Wednesday (as I normally do with movie reviews) I started to think about the movie even. Usually, that’s not a good thing. I think about a movie too much I see all the flaws (never get into a conversation with me about The Dark Knight Rises…also don’t talk to me about The Force Awakens). It’s understandable of course to see the flaws when you think too much about them. But after a while the more I started to think about Happy Death Day, well, I just sort of smiled.

Happy Death Day really impressed me with its premise and storytelling. Admittedly it is a pretty simple storyline, a girl has to relive her death until she solves her own murder. It has so much going for it because although it’s a horror film it doesn’t focus on the blood and gore, of which there could have been tons of. Again the film is about a girl dying repeatedly. Instead, the film uses this opportunity to play off some classic horror movie tropes, reminding me, in a way of Scream. There is a sort of lightness to the film as the main character tries to figure out her own murder, meeting each death, after the first few with a resigned sigh and a scream, depending on her way of death. There’s comedy in the film that connects to the audience without letting them forget that she is suffering. It’s a slasher movie, no doubt about it, but the manner in which the killer and protagonist balance off each other is impressive. The film is blending genre’s together in order to play off of those classic tropes that make slasher movies what they are, and it worked so well with this film. The concept of the film was constructed amazingly, going from one moment to another and allowing the character to right some of her wrongs and deal with the person she has become. If it’s her last day on Earth she might as well live it. And she does.

Jessica Rothe was an amazing choice for this part. She brings to life her terror, her heartache, her hope, she captures all of that wonderfully in such a way that it’s just wonderful to see her on the screen performing. She nailed this part perfectly and carried the film with such talent. Honestly, she was just a joy to watch as she faced death again and again without losing hope.

It has the spunk, it has the action and the scare factor, and it has a strong plot line with a strong character who grows throughout the film series. She’s not just some blond in a horror film, she’s a blond who owns the film and fights to make it her own. I loved that about the film, on its play on storytelling and it focuses on character development. It’s not just some slasher movie, it’s a movie with a motive that will successfully win over any audience. (★★★★ | A)

—Film Credits—

Directed by Christopher B. Landon

Written by Scott Lobdell

Starring: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Rachel Matthews & Charles Aitken

Rating | Length | Genre: PG-13 | 1h 36min | HorrorMysteryThriller

Distributed by Universal Pictures

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