In cinemas: October 12, 2017
Starring: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine
Directed by: Christopher Landon
Groundhog Day just keeps on giving. Having been appropriated for sci-fi (Edge of Tomorrow) and teen drama (Before I Fall), now it’s the slasher movie’s turn to get stuck on repeat.
But slasher films are already repetitious, you may well cry, and the latest offering from the Blumhouse of horror is acutely aware of that fact. Consequently, Happy Death Day has a lot of fun with the premise of a victim who relives the day of her murder over and over, and must stop the killer in order to escape the loop.
Sorority girl Tree (Jessica Rothe) – presumably short for Theresa? – wakes up in a boy’s college dorm after a wild night. It’s her birthday, and she’s not keen on the fact, nor that there’s a ‘surprise’ party planned that evening. She never makes it, however, after running into a knife-wielding maniac in a sinister baby mask. At the moment of death, she wakes up back in the dorm to the same annoying ringtone and thus continues the live-die-repeat scenario, with the manner of her murder changing each time.
She’s also a bit of a bitch, so should we really care what happens to her? But like Bill Murray, she eventually realises she can also use her extra lives to become a better person, and act with impunity – strolling naked across campus and farting protractedly in a diner.
Although essentially a horror film, the tone is comedic and playful rather than vicious, with an absence of jump scares and gore, and a truly ludicrous final twist.
Happy Death Day is a throwback to post-Scream slashers like Urban Legend, and plays like an extended episode of Scream Queens. It won’t reset the current state of the horror genre, but it is a welcome change from the spate of supernatural shenanigans.