|Via Rotten Tomatoes|
Happy Death Day 2U performs all the functions you could ask from a sequel: continue the story from its predecessor in an interesting way, further develop the central character, and repeat the formula from the original in ways the audience has not seen yet.
Following the events of Happy Death Day, Tree finds herself thrown back into the time loop after a time-manipulating thesis project sets off. However, this time there’s a new killer dawning the baby mask and a separate parallel universe Tree is stuck in.
When Happy Death Day was the success it was in 2017, I have to admit I was surprised; I had never given any thought of seeing the film until its warm reception. Not too long ago, I managed to finally watch it and decided it was entertaining enough to go ahead and see the new one. Happy Death Day 2U feels a lot like the first, and it goes without saying, if you liked the first you’ll probably enjoy the second; the two films do feel equal in quality. They both have similar levels of comedy, both in amount and type. The horror elements are nothing more than quick chase sequences and the occasional jump scare; if you are scared easily, there is nothing to be worried about here. What makes Happy Death Day 2U interesting, as with the first, is its ability to blend these horror and comedic elements into something unique. The Groundhog Day plot of reliving the same day has been used many times and has become trite, but the Happy Death Day series avoids this by its ability to jump genres. Is it a horror? A comedy? And with the newest one, a sci-fi? Defining Happy Death Day 2U is impossible and its categorical balance is what makes it such a fun watch. Looking to laugh a little? Be on the edge of your seat a little? Instead of choosing one or the other, Happy Death Day and 2U allow you to have both. But emphasis on the word little, the films don’t reach excellence in any genre either.
Another key factor in the success of the Happy Death Day films, Jessica Rothe brings it once more in the sequel. Not only does she bring the energy to her role which keeps the film moving, she is able to impress in the more difficult, cinematically emotional moments. Instead of coming off as whiny or annoying, Rothe comes off as genuine. She cares about the character she plays, and you can see it in her performance. Happy Death Day 2U didn’t get going until about ten minutes in, when Rothe became the focus of the film, and it made me realize how important she is to the film’s enjoyability. I look forward to her future projects.
Happy Death Day 2U recaptures the heart and humor of the first and does a good job at keeping the story fresh and entertaining; I just wish it was more thrilling. 7/10.