19th Feb2019

‘Happy Death Day 2U’ Review – Second Opinion

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Rachel Matthews, Charles Aitken, Jason Bayle, Phi Vu, Donna Duplantier, GiGi Erneta | Written and Directed by Christopher Landon

happy-death-day-2u-poster

Director Christopher Landon, along with stars Jessica Rothe and Israel Broussard as Tree Gelbman and Carter Davis, respectively return to the Blumhouse produced sequel of 2017′s surprise underground horror hit Happy Death Day with Happy Death Day 2U. An absurdly extravagant and absurdly evolved sequel and a film that manages to dial up an already bizarre concept to eleven and still manages to reap the benefits of a fun, entertaining venture that manages to hold its head above an overly convoluted sea of insanity and narrative confusion but only just.

Leading lady Jessica Rothe has undoubtedly cemented herself as an action horror heroine. Rothe has such splendid emotional range and depth. Crafting significant layers to a character tormented in burning agony by both past and future endeavours of the boundaries and perils of life. She carries the emotional crux and weight of the film with tremendous strength. In one sequence she lifts the picture with an inviting smile and the next puts forward a devastatingly sagacious emotionally compelling turn. Israel Broussard a coincidentally bang on lookalike of producer Jason Blum puts forward a decent effort as love interest Carter Davis. Undoubtedly more so a secondary background character but his charisma with Rothe undeniably inviting and charming.

Jessica Rothe is a star in the same vein as JamIe Lee Curtis in her breakout roles of Halloween in 1978 and Halloween II in 1981. A series that somewhat ironically so with Blumhouse producing the latest Halloween reboot has numerous links to each other with the Happy Death Day series contextually rhyming with Carpenters franchise both in the behaviour of the plot but also evolving character threads, In particularly that of Rick Rosenthal’s Halloween II. Taking in and exploring the daily bread and world revolving around the characters finding Laurie and in this case Tree Gelbman as almost a secondary character until the second and third act. The technique is expressed here with screenwriters Christopher Landon and Scott Lobdell in a terrific balanced manner allowing the world building and ultimately the film to breathe and open itself up to depth.

Happy Death Day 2U stands firmly on its own original two feet. One would find trouble to argue against such a factor, even if it does homage or borrow significantly from Sci-Fi cinematic staples of Zemeckis Back to the Future. Landon’s film puts forward a significantly charged re-design and impassioned angst to evolve from a repetitive Groundhog Day slog into something significantly more visually sharp and abstract in design and execution. However, such a staunch gamble and evolution comes at a price. To stand against the predictable conventional crowd the extent of narrative plotting progression is enormously deferential to its predecessor. Significantly to the point of overly conscious differentiation that is overcrowded and convoluted. It doesn’t become hazardously distracting to engage but it dampens the screenplay with severe narrative exposition and tormenting obtuse plot beats that the film can’t, won’t and doesn’t know how to work itself out. Especially that of the film’s climax which is severely abrupt and rough around the edges.

Happy Death Day 2U is in cinemas now.

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