“Happy Death Day 2U”: An Entertaining Embrace of Insanity


Lara Garay

“Happy Death Day 2U” was released on February 13th, 2019.

Andrew Mello, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Falcon rating: 3.5/5


What could I possibly say about Happy Death Day 2U that isn’t already told by the name alone? If you go into the theater thinking you’ll enjoy yourself, I’m doubtless you will. However, if you’re the type to hear that title and immediately form some harsh opinions, then it’s probable you’ll hate every minute of the runtime. Not guaranteed, though. This exact case happened to me watching this movie, instantly won over by its collegiate charm, healthy self-awareness, and a fair amount of praiseworthy work. “So bad they’re good” movies are a guilty pleasure of mine, and Happy Death Day 2U is a prime example of that genre working perfectly.

The elevator pitch for the first movie was probably Groundhog Day as a horror movie. Our protagonist, Tree (Jessica Rothe), keeps waking up on the same day over and over again, each time pursued by a serial killer wearing a baby-faced mask. The core concept was already ridiculous, but somebody clearly decided to turn it up even more for this second installment. Somehow, a time machine is built by one of the other students, Ryan (Phi Vu), which locks Tree back in the same day as the first film, but in a parallel universe. This, along with all of the other ridiculous sci-fi ideas, was accepted by the audience with all the enthusiasm of an unperceptive “alright.”

Inside this pocket universe, Tree discovers her previously deceased mother alive and well. She then has to confront a tough choice between this parallel version of her mother or her boyfriend in her real life.

Up to this point, the whole appeal of the movie for me was the tonal consistency: a consistent attitude of not taking anything seriously, just dedicated to making you laugh. The recipe here is four parts comedy and one splash of horror thrown in for flavor. But when the film, which is about time machines and serial killers, is confused by adding extra plot threads that we’re supposed to take seriously, it just creates dead weight. I was invested enough without the sad attempt at a heartfelt story, so every scene of this was another point off.

If I wanted to take a serious turn with Happy Death Day 2U, I could easily pick apart the loosely-hanging plot threads that cover nearly the entire production. I could sit here for hours critiquing the hammy acting or the sets stolen from a cheap Netflix movie. However, if I did, then I would be doing it wrong. Nobody should take this movie seriously, and that’s why I liked it as much as I did.

Calling this movie inoffensive would be both too harsh and also completely true. The cast seems fully aware how ridiculous the movie is, and they all give into the sense of fun, easy entertainment I expected and hoped for from a movie called Happy Death Day 2U. I don’t know if this movie deserves as high a rating as I’m giving it, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the audacity of the whole production.


This piece also appears in our February 2019 print edition.