Happy Death Day
Film: Happy Death Day
Director: Christopher Landon
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Starring: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard and Ruby Modine
This film starts with a sorority girl, played by Jessica Rothe, waking up in a dorm room. The room belongs to Israel Broussard. He is interested in her and she doesn’t seem to be as thrilled. His roommate busts in as she leaves. As she is doing her walk of shame, she sees some weird things, including a guy she went on a date with. Rothe has an attitude and goes back to her sorority house. She is stopped just inside by one of her sisters, played by Rachel Matthews. Matthews asks her about what happened last night and Rothe is cryptic in her answers.
She gets up to her room and talks with her roommate, who is played by Ruby Modine. Modine tells her the embarrassing things she did that night and then reveals that she knows it is her birth date. Rothe blows her off and realizes she is late for class. She makes it there and it is being taught by Charles Aitken, who doesn’t say anything about her disrupting.
Rothe then goes to a meeting for her sorority at lunch. Matthews leads it and starts to belittle another of the sisters for what she is eating, this woman played by Cariella Smith. Smith goes to leave and bumps into Broussard, spilling a chocolate shake on Rothe. They talk away from the group and he leaves in embarrassment.
We then see that Rothe is fooling around with Aitken. Modine tells her before she gets up there that it isn’t a good idea. We also see that there is someone who is under arrest, but currently hospitalized as well. Rothe goes into Aitken’s office, but they are interrupted by his wife, who is played by Laura Clifton.
There is a party that night and Rothe is going later. It should also be pointed out that her father keeps trying to get a hold of her that day and she is ignoring him. The power goes out around 9 and it seems to be something that is happening regularly on this campus.
Rothe walks toward this party until she gets to a tunnel. She finds a weird music ornament. As she looks at it, we see a killer step out behind her, wearing a baby mask that is the mascot of the college team. Rothe tries to flee, but she is murdered.
She then wakes up again in Broussard’s room. She isn’t sure if she really lived through what she experience or if she is just having déjà vu. She goes about her day in the same way she did the first time, but instead she takes a different route to the party. It turns out to be for her birthday. She punches a guy out when she steps in, thinking it is the killer. It turns out to be Blaine Kern III. Rothe shows some interest in him, but Matthews wants him too. Rothe ends up in his room. It is cut short when the killer kills them both.
Rothe wakes up yet again in the bedroom of Broussard. Rothe again goes about her day and is murdered. She tells Modine about what is happening to her and one of the days she goes out with Broussard, telling him what happened to her. He tells her that if she keeps reliving this, then she should use this to her advantage and try to solve her murder. The problem though is that every time she dies, the trauma that kills her has its effect on her body internally.
Can she find who the killer is before it is too late? Is it this man that is being watched by the police or is it someone else? Can this curse be broken?
I became interested in seeing this film after seeing a trailer for it. My initial thought was that this is the horror version of the film Groundhog’s Day, which is funny that Broussard actually brings up this film. I like this concept. It would be horrible that every day you die, no matter what you do. I also like the idea that the trauma she experiences has its effect on her as well. This film has a solid twist at the end of it that I didn’t see coming, which I was a fan of. There are so many red herrings, but I’m fine with that. This film though is somewhat of a chick flick. The character arch of Rothe is solid, but I could have done without what she does as it was a little bit too happy go lucky for my liking. We also never learn why it is happening to her, other than it is her birthday and she has to solve it to break the curse.
There was some decent acting in this film. I thought Rothe was pretty cute and she did a solid job. She comes off as a bitch in the beginning and I hated her. The more times that she dies, the more that she realizes how she is living her life isn’t good and that it isn’t too late. By the end of the film, I thought she did portraying her character arch. I actually really liked Broussard. He has that loveable loser about him and I wanted him to get the girl. I also loved his ‘They Live’ poster in his room. The rest of the cast were solid, even though Matthews overplays her role. I think she was required to be that way, so I won’t hold it against her too much.
I was disappointed in the effects of this film. They decided to go PG-13 for this film, so all of the deaths are done off screen. They set up some that would have really helped this film to show them. The little blood we got did look good though. The editing of this film was fine. It runs 96 minutes and it builds tension through the story. It would have been better though if they would have allowed it playing up the horror. The score was decent. The normal music they used was too much pop for a film like this. It just didn’t fit. The dramatic score they used was fine though.
Now with that said this horror film I’d actually recommend to people that like chick flicks. It plays a lot like those films. Diehard fans of the genre are not going to be big fans in my eyes. The story is an interesting one and I like how they played it. I just think that they should have showed the deaths on screen and it would have helped the film. The acting is good; I don’t really have any complaints there. The two leads did really well. The editing was fine, but the film just wasn’t exciting and it does make it slightly boring unfortunately. The score was also decent, with the pop music being too much and the dramatic score helping build the tension. This film is slightly above average, it does some good things, but just fails to live up to the potential it had in my eyes.
My Rating: 6 out of 10