Coming off of the surprise success of Happy Death Day, the sequel has arrived in no more than a few years. The first was a Groundhog Day-esc horror-comedy, Happy Death Day 2U keeps that same humorous quality and amps it up. Whilst the horror elements are still present they are perhaps less prominent. The film builds upon the groundwork of the first film and delves into a more Back to the Future-type story that heavily leans into Sci-fi and the concept of the multiverse. They have a lot of fun with it.
Beginning where the last film ended, we follow Tree (Jessica Rothe) as she finds Ryan Phan (Phi Vu) caught in a surprisingly similar time loop. Tree has to save the lives of her boyfriend Carter (Israel Broussard) and Ryan, along with figuring out who the killer is and putting a stop to his murderous schemes. She struggles with the idea of staying in a world that is alien but is a dream come true, or slipping back into the reality where things are right.
The film is hysterical, and Jessica Rothe once more proves she is a star in the making. Rothe is undoubtedly a treasure as the confident and now empathetic Tree, but her talent routes back to La La Land. Where she had a small role, but shined which undoubtedly put her on the map and from here on out I expect to see her lots more. Just wait. Happy Death Day 2U’s success is most defiantly in its dark comedy, finding a hilarious balance of nihilism and heart.
The amount of creative ways Tree dies is always ever expanding and dare I say it, really fun. There is a specific montage sequence that is one of the best moments of 2019 so far, capturing the comedy in her rather dire situation through laugh out loud moments like Tree jumping out of an aeroplane in a bikini and splatting on her school grounds.
The killer is more of a subplot, the focus is not particularly on horror but on a genre-bending mix that captures a lot of heart as it focuses in on the ensemble surrounding the marvelous Jessica Rothe. Director Christopher Landon proves he’s not just a very solid horror director, but a great director – with his expressive way of expanding on humour through visuals and camera movement.
There is a reliance on frequent jump scares that will get you, which could be seen as a cliche in the horror genre – but in this case it is most certainly done to contradict the more comical aspects, in which it finds a nice leveled balance.
This is a truly worthy sequel, which shines through its concept and cast – it’s a fast paced, exhilarating and fun experience. Jessica Rothe is a treasure to not be missed. The ending clearly tries to setup a third chapter, presumably after the major success of the first it has been planned out as a comically-dark horror trilogy that will most likely happen and end off with a nice little red bow.