Another Killer Birthday: HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U (2019) Review

After thinking she broke the time loop by defeating her killer, Tree discovers that time has come back again for her. Only this time she’s in a different dimension where everything is different. Now she must save those around her, reveal the new killer, and decide whether she wants to return to her reality or not.

Contrary to what the trailer gives off, not everyone is fair game in this sequel, and that’s one of the issues I had with the film. However, I did have a blast with this film and had just as much fun with it as I did the first film, but the first is still much better. To start with the pros, as mentioned, this movie is a ton of funny, and this is mostly due to the fact that the laughs are on full-blast this time and they really work. This is mostly thanks to Jessica Rothe’s brilliant comedic timing as Tree. When she wakes up back in her loop again, this whole sequence following her from Carter’s dorm to her sorority house is one laugh after another from Tree’s outbursts, to even just the facial expressions she has throughout the scene. Rachel Matthews once again also delivers some laughs as Tree’s snobby sorority sister Danielle, and she’s given even more to do in this film. We are also treated to a comedic montage of Tree having to kill herself over and over. Another thing I enjoyed was that it wasn’t a total rehash of the first film. We do get some great fight/chase sequences with the Baby Face killer, but these and the horror itself takes the backseat for the comedy and sci-fi angle it chooses to take instead.

In some ways I think this is a wise decision so it wouldn’t be a total copy of the first film, so when the horror scenes do happen, they have a more welcoming effect. To circle back to Jessica Rothe, she hardcore establishes her versatility as an actress. She does such an amazing job of showing her comedic chops, her bad ass female side, and her dramatic/emotional side. That’s another thing this sequel has more of, it gives us a bit more dramatic depth by giving Tree a pretty emotional scene with a particular character. And she shares some sweet moments with Israel Broussard as Carter. The whodunit angle is still present, and you do guess of who it is, however, this is a decent segue into the cons. The reveal of the killer isn’t so much shocking as it’s more like, “huh, okay”, but then that just gets completely ruined when a 2nd killer is revealed and it makes absolutely no sense for them to be a part of it. Circling back to earlier, the script is a bit over the place and leaves questions. Why involve Ryan’s character in getting killed (as shown in the trailer) and later say that everyone is fair game to the killer, when in the end it’s really only Tree and one other character who become the killer’s targets? It would have been great if Tree actually had to save the lives of those around her by having to kill herself over and over (as hinted in the trailer), when in the actual movie, she really has no reason to be doing so. The other question that it left me with was why was it Tree who was caught in the loop? We received the explanation of HOW she got into it, but not the why. Why was Tree caught in it, and not someone like Carter? In my experience with films involving time travel and other dimensions, I do try not to question things too much because it just leads to frustration.

Happy Death Day 2U does have some plot holes issues and leaves you questioning about certain events and choices, but in the end, it’s a hell of a fun and serviceable sequel that really benefits from the brilliant performance by Jessica Rothe.

-Cody Landman