Christopher Landon’s new horror-comedy “Happy Death Day” may one day be considered in the annals of horror history to be one of the best (mainstream) American slashers of the 2010’s. It is one of those movies which can be enjoyed by both casual viewers as well as die-hard horror fans.
Right off the bat, when Happy Death Day was announced a full decade ago (originally “Half to Death”) the circumstances of production were less than promising. Not only was it going to be produced by ‘splosion-loving Michael Bay, but the main character would be portrayed by the utterly inept Megan Fox. The fact that, last year, Jessica Rothe was cast to star, and Blumhouse was set to produce, is a true cinematic miracle.
The film centers around Tree Gelbman, a college student forced to re-live the same day over and over again in Groundhog Day fashion, and flee a mysterious killer donning the mask of her school mascot.
The classic tropes and cliches of horror, sororities, and college life are played with and turned on their head through witty dialogue and clever direction, and the ‘comedy’ half of ‘horror-comedy’ is certainly present throughout. The performances of Rothe as Tree Gelbman, Israel Broussard as love interest Carter, and Ruby Modine as Lori (as well as other great performances) accentuate these themes with grace, humor, and richness.
I did feel that, especially with the character of Carter Davis, the story lacked character exploration. Perhaps this was a choice to make him seem more universal and impressionable for young-adult audiences, but I sort of felt like I wanted to know more about him.
To conclude, “Happy Death Day” is a wild and super-fun slasher romp for the ages, and will almost certainly find a place in your collection.
Final Score: 9/10