Director: Christopher Landon
Cast: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Suraj Sharma
Release Date: May 14, 2019
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
It’s déjà vu all over again for Tree Gelbman, the snarky sorority sister who solved her own murder by repeatedly reliving her death. When the masked campus killer mysteriously returns to terrorize new targets, Tree cycles through another time loop of clever chills and suspense in Happy Death Day 2U, the inventive follow-up to Blumhouse’s hit thriller Happy Death Day.
Get ready to head out on another mind-twisting and Deja-vu filled mystery with Tree (Rothe) and her new friends in the sequel to ‘Happy Death Day’, the surprise hit from Blumhouse Productions. ‘Happy Death Day 2U’ rejoins our unlikely heroine along with her new love interest and his roommate on the morning after her terrible repeating birthday, with that looping day of terror finally behind her at last; or so she thought. But when the revelation of a school science project begins to explain her prior day filled with death and misery, she soon finds herself thrown back into the loop yet again, with the masked killer on the loose once more. But this time there’s a catch, nothing is quite as it’s supposed to be and everything she previously uncovered in the loop has somehow been altered, leading to a whole new mystery and mess for Tree to tackle.
Directed once again by Christopher Landon (Happy Death Day, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) who additionally wrote the script this time around, Landon does a great job back at the helm for ‘Happy Death Day 2U’ recapturing much of the fun and silly nature the original delivered, combined with a slight tonal shift. The film also owes plenty of credit to the capable cast which features various new and returning individuals to the series and includes Jessica Rothe (Happy Death Day), Israel Broussard (Extinction), Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi), Phi Vu (Logan), Sarah Yarkin (TV’s American Horror Story), Rachel Matthews (Happy Death Day), Steve Zissis (The House) and more, with the majority offering generally solid and fitting performances for the most part in each of their respective roles.
‘Happy Death Day 2U’ is a fast paced and frequently humorous sequel that has a few unique surprises of its own to offer fans of the first film. Picking up after the events of the last movie and sending our lead off on a twisty new set of adventures with fresh mysteries and troubles aplenty to piece together. Even if it may not quite be able to recapture the offbeat humor, surprising charm or touching character growth that made the original such a pleasant surprise, it certainly manages to come together into a relatively clever sequel in its own right that at least strives to take the story somewhere unique and unexpected as opposed to just rehashing every element of the original. While a tad confusing at times and with a noticeable increase in humor and less focus on the horror content, it manages to become a worthy sequel overall and benefits from the capable guidance of returning director Christopher Landon as well as the well selected cast which is again led by Jessica Rothe. It may not quite attain that perfect style and meshing of genres that the first so easily achieved, yet is still one smart, funny and thoroughly enjoyable ride that’s well worth taking. If nothing else it should make for a fun and relaxing movie night one evening and should at least easily justify the price of a rental for fans of the first ‘Happy Death Day’.
Overall, ‘Happy Death Day 2U’ is a relatively clever, funny and swiftly paced sequel that takes plenty of familiar elements and concepts from the first film and twists them up. Sending things in an unexpected new direction this time around that’s also just similar enough to make for an intriguing follow-up that doesn’t quite hit all of the marks, but never fails to deliver a consistently fun and engaging ride along the way. ‘Happy Death Day 2U’ is definitely recommended for fans of the first film. It may not manage to reach the impressive level of fun and witty charm that its predecessor so effortlessly captured, yet it nonetheless brings enough fun, mystery and laughs to the table to make it well worth checking out if you enjoyed its predecessor. Although I would strongly encourage those who haven’t seen the first movie to try and make a point of doing so before watching this one if at all possible.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Happy Death Day 2U’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic altogether and offers a sharp, clean and colorful presentation from start to finish, with no notable faults or issues to be found along the way. It holds up impressively even during the numerous darkly lit, heavily populated and fast moving moments, never resulting in anything occurring onscreen becoming negatively affected, let alone rendered indiscernible at any point. Overall, this is a wonderful high definition video presentation that should have no trouble satisfying fans.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack provides a crisp, clean and quite active audio presentation throughout. It consistently embraces all five available channels in order to send action effects and unexpected noises, along with music, crowd chatter and much more whipping throughout the various speakers whenever appropriate, and never causing any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible along the way. Overall, this is a great 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers in every way necessary and offers plenty of additional fun to the viewing experience along the way.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Happy Death Day 2U’ includes a few brief and enjoyable extras. Included on the release is a ‘Deleted Scene’ from the movie (running approximately 2 minutes in length), in addition to a ‘Gag Reel’ (running approximately 2 minutes) and a few short Behind the Scenes Featurettes that explore different aspects of bringing the sequel to life and featuring interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus some behind the scenes footage. The included Featurettes are: ‘The Never-Ending Birthday’ (running approximately 3 minutes), ‘Web of Love: Tree’s Nightmare’ (approximately 90 seconds) and ‘Multiverse 101’ (2 minutes).