“Itttt’s my birthday and I ain’t gotta pick up the phone…” Yeah, expect to hear that line from Trak Kartel’s “Busy Day Birthday” a lot in Happy Death Day. By the time I had heard the song twice, I wasn’t really in love with the movie. In fact, my one gripe with the Happy Death Day is that it takes a bit of time to warm up to it. Give it a chance, though, and you’re in for a good time.
Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) keeps dying…and waking up in the same bed she began the day in. She decides she needs to get to the bottom of who is murdering her and why. I will say this (don’t worry no spoilers) the writers do a phenomenal job of keeping you on your toes. Then again, I’m a little slow when it comes to movies like these so that might also have something to do with why I was thrown for a loop. I do appreciate that the movie didn’t take the easy way out. It earns your money until the very end.
One of the things that surprised me the most was how family-friendly the movie is. No, you’re not going to let your seven-year-old watch Happy Death Day, but it would be great for a night with your teens. There’s not a lot of gore or profanity so it’s a safe bet if your teenager has been wanting to break into the horror genre.
I was probably most impressed with how well Tree was developed as a character. I sincerely hated her guts in the begining thinking, “Maybe just maybe she’s got this coming.” She’s just not a nice person, period. Then layers slowly start to peel and you understand her more as a person and get to know why she is the way that she is. Her life has been a mess for years and she’s hoping to redeem it before it’s too late. In order to watch a film where you’re reliving the same day over and over you really have to care about the protagonist and director Christopher Landon makes sure that you do.
What comes in at a close second just behind character development is the overall tone of the movie. Happy Death Day knows what it is and it never manages to take itself too seriously. It’s rare that the film goes too long without a solid laugh or two. I enjoyed the film just as much as I did Baby Driver and that’s saying a lot. I give it a 93.