“Happy Death Day,” released in November 2017, unexpectedly achieved success. With box office earnings surpassing ten times its modest budget, the producers, as they often do, quickly set their sights on making a “forced” sequel that threatened to tarnish what could have remained a fond memory. “Happy Death Day,” with Jessica Rothe’s remarkable performance and certain intriguing details, managed to captivate the audience, offering one of the more unique iterations of the Groundhog Day theme. Innovating and refreshing a classic concept can often open the door to success, but attempting to rehash and adapt a once-successful idea can result in the opposite. As always. Like in the Happy Death Day 2U.
Let’s briefly examine the plot. In the first film, we followed the story of Tree, who continually woke up on her birthday, facing the puzzle of why she kept dying and reliving the same day. They had actually given it a decent narrative resolution. However, in the second film, they link the story entirely to the trendy quantum and parallel universe theories of recent years. Due to an experiment by Ryan, who has no room in the dorms and is forced to sleep in his car, Tree finds herself trapped in another time loop, where she not only keeps dying and returning but also must ensure the success of the experiment that will bring her back each time.
My primary reason for enjoying the first film was my appreciation of Jessica Rothe. This dynamic actress, whom I had the chance to see for the first time, truly excels in her role. While the Groundhog Day theme is a timeless favorite, the repetitive cycle of dying and returning was not a well-explored topic. The story of being trapped in this cosmic, recurring joke, this time linked to a human-caused accident, robs the film of all its charm. Apart from Jessica Rothe, I watched the film with enjoyment, and unfortunately, everything else about it is a failure and, worse yet, forced.
With an original idea already in place, a potential sequel should seek to explore new territory. The notion that “we must do something different from the first film, let’s turn the concept upside down” ultimately damages the coherence of the universe. This film manages to stumble along, albeit hesitatingly, only to lose all sense of logic in the final 20 minutes. Furthermore, and most regrettably, it diminishes the spiritual essence of the first film by opening the door to a possible third installment. Unfortunately, when it comes to money, Hollywood often loses its sense of restraint. In our era, many original films continue to be tainted and forgotten in the deluge of remakes and sequels.
In essence, “Happy Death Day 2U” strives to build upon the original concept but, regrettably, ends up being a subpar film that topples the foundation and, ultimately, damages the overall quality. If you appreciated Jessica Rothe’s acting in the first film, you might consider watching it for her performance once more. However, the film you encounter is significantly detached from the atmosphere of the original, and as it approaches its conclusion, it completely loses its coherence. In a different world, without the loss of logical consistency in the latter part, it could have been a satisfying experience.
Cast & Crew
director: Christopher Landon
writers: Christopher Landon
starring: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Suraj Sharma, Rachel Matthews, Phi Vu, Sarah Yarkin, Kenneth Israel
USA | 2019 | 100 MINUTES |