Sydnee Smith, Reporter
The tongue-in-cheek horror flick “Happy Death Day” hit theaters on Friday the 13th. Snatching a spot at number one at the box office, the film raked in $26.5 million on opening night. Described as “Groundhog Day” meets “Scream,” the film keeps audiences guessing until the final reveal. Jessica Rothe stars in a breakout role as Tree, a self-absorbed sorority girl whose flippant attitude often upsets those around her. In every scene, Rothe’s comedic acting keeps audiences captivated for the entire duration of the film.
The movie follows Tree on her birthday, a day she tries to forget. At the end of her birthday night, she is murdered by an anonymous killer wearing the mask of her college mascot. However, she wakes up in the morning, discovering it’s her birthday all over again. “I’m totally having deja-vu right now!” she quips as she relives the day, only to be murdered again at the end of the night. By the third repeat day, Tree realizes what she must do: find her killer in order to survive and see tomorrow.
Films with a premise based on repetition can easily fall into the trap of being boring and monotonous, but “Happy Death Day” does an excellent job at keeping the plot fresh and interesting, even as Tree relieves the same day over and over again. The film leads its audience down a skewed maze to the killer. From Lori, Tree’s thoughtful roommate, Carter, the sweet boy whose dorm room she wakes up in to Gregory Butler, her sultry science professor. The audience is left thinking anyone could be a vengeful foe.
Set up as a horror film for people who don’t like horror, there is comedy where it needs to be to provide levity. The goreless kills and subtle jumpscares provide the perfect blend of both comedy and horror in the PG-13 rated movie. The film follows a nice flow between Tree’s deaths, her trying to discover who her killer is and her personal growth. As the film progresses Tree tries to patch relations and better herself.
While the fast-paced plot keeps things interesting, occasionally it detracts from the film’s ability to fully flesh-out certain subplots, such as her disconnection from her birthday and her growing fascination with Carter.
Overall, the film’s end leaves the audience with a smile on their face and a pleasant feeling. Although some subplots lacked depth, the quality of the film didn’t deteriorate. “Happy Death Day” offers a fresh take on a classic trope.
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