On the morning of her birthday, college student Tree (Jessica Rothe) wakes up in a stranger’s dorm room. She can’t remember much from the night before but that’s not unusual for her. So she heads back to her sorority, snubs her roommate’s attempts to celebrate her birthday and continues her illicit affair with her professor. Unfortunately her birthday party doesn’t quite go to plan and she is murdered by someone in a mask. Not such a happy birthday.
The next day Tree wakes up in the same place and experiences the same day, including her murder and this happens again and again. Initially she is terrified but after confiding in Carter (Israel Broussard), the bloke whose bed she wakes up in, she realises she has an opportunity to try over and over to solve her murder.
What elevates Happy Death Day somewhat is Tree’s slow realisation that she’s been a bit of a twat over the past few years and that she also has an opportunity to improve herself and face the feelings she has been trying to bury.
Despite the fact that Tree is initially a pretty unpleasant character, Rothe is so charming and charismatic that you end up liking her anyway and rooting for her to succeed.
It’s more on the comedy side than the horror side and I can’t say that I was scared or even unsettled at any point but I was surprised by the identity of the killer and enjoyed the overall concept. It’s not wildly original but it’s still a lot of fun. If you really want to see someone going through a personal development journey by reliving the same day though, I would recommend Russian Doll.
The one thing that felt slightly off was the idea that Tree was taking on damage from her repeated deaths. It seemed to affect her at one point but then it just kind of fizzled out.
Anyway, this is worth a watch and Mr O and I really enjoyed it.