Happy Death Day (2017)

Image courtesy of: Universal Pictures

Without giving too much of the paper-thin plot away (think Groundhog Day meets high school slasher), screenwriter Scott Lobdell has combined two infamous movie quotes to give his protagonist a killer one-liner. From Jaws: “Smile, you son of a bitch!” From Misery: “Eat it till you choke, you sick, twisted, fuck!” Result: “Eat it, bitch!”

The protagonist being Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe), a blonde bombshell and “sneaky little biatch”, who is bludgeoned to death on the night of her birthday, only to wake up and relive (or, rather, re-die) the experience over and over again until she can track down the identity of her masked killer and wipe the baby-faced smile from his or her chubby cheeks.

At first, she comes across as a spoilt little brat: her lumber for the night Carter (Israel Broussard) treated with the same disdain as her roomie Danielle (Rachel Matthews) whose offer of a cupcake is tossed into the bin with as much grace as a Kermit The Frog-bound slap from Miss Piggy. A fitting comparison, for both are divas. Albeit one’s a pig, the other’s a cow!

So when the baby-faced killer bumps her off in the dark of night, we’re initially glad. For who wants to root for an obnoxious and preposterously named character like Tree? But as the film progresses and the tone shifts from thriller to romance to satire to kick-ass to seize the day moralising, her character like her name grows as she comes to the conclusion that “love is love” and “enjoy today because there’s no tomorrow”.

A quirky crowd-pleaser by director Christopher B. Landon (writer of several Paranormal Activity films and director of Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) which has thus far taken more than seven times its $5m budget and can best be described as: switch off the brain, switch off the lights, switch off the world!

Director: Christopher Landon
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Stars: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine
Peter Callaghan

Peter Callaghan

Writer at reviewsphere
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Dramatic Studies graduate, actor, writer and drama workshop leader. As well as a performance poet and corporate roleplayer.
Peter Callaghan

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