It has been about a year and a half since the original Happy Death Day movie, and lucky for viewers who couldn’t get enough off the shenanigans and Groundhog Day references in the first one, we are graced with a sequel to what was less than stellar, but nonetheless an exciting thrill ride of a movie, I suppose.
Luckily, this one creatively presents the same ideas, where we find protagonist Tree (Jessica Rothe), seemingly free of the trauma she relived over 11 times – you know, where she dies over and over again until she figures out who her killer is.
Happy Death Day 2U however, commences with a slightly different introduction, this time with fellow Ryan, also a student at Bayfield University, who wakes up in a daze in his car. Confusion blankets his face as he stumbles onto the sidewalk and makes his way into his dorm room. His roommate happens to be none other than Carter, who is in an intimate predicament with our hero, Tree. He leaves awkwardly trying not to embarrass himself or the others. The plot thickens of course when his friends summon him to the lab to help take care of some mysterious business. Once he arrives at the lab, he’s frantically greeted by his geek squad who urges him to fix a giant sphere of what appears to be electrical wires buzzing around. We learn this will later be the shadow star of the movie as it is responsible for much of the films murderous events.
Ryan and his friends are interrupted when their professor and a pair of security guards come storming in and threaten to stop their project as it is creating blackouts and power outages within the university compound. Ryan however never manages to fix the problem with this contraption as he is, can you guess, killed horrendously by someone in the baby mask – the same character who killed Tree all those times in the first movie.
Ok, so now that we have that background story more or less covered, I think the audience is pretty much interested to know what else is going to happen. And more importantly, asking why? In my original review, I must admit, I wasn’t necessarily impressed with the movie, but in retrospect, I suppose it was slightly trying to mock previous slasher thrillers and converting into more of a fun time rather than trying to take itself seriously. And the sequel proves its really just trying to have fun and experiment with some cool quantum physics-like themes. It becomes less about murders and mystery and more about exploring parallel universes, what could we do if we had another chance to re-do something in our lives? How would we do it differently? I quite enjoyed these ideas as the film also ties elements of sentiment and unveils more layers to Tree herself, who eventually becomes caught up in Ryan and his friends’ science project which is hugely culpable for the multiple times she has to die and learns along the way, she is actually a bit of a nerd herself.
You will have to find out the ending for yourself – but I think the movie will show you this is not really about a masked killer on the loose, but more about friendship, exploring choices and recognizing one’s own weakness and truths – something that might be a lot scarier than most would admit to.
Universal Pictures releases Happy Death Day 2U on Friday, February 15, 2019
[Review by Alessia Youkhanna]