‘Happy Death Day 2 U’ Succeeds as a Sequel


Photo Courtesy of Universal Pictures

‘Happy Death Day 2 U’ creates a new thriller with dark humor and a different type of horror from the first installment.

With the last installment recently turning a year and a half old, Happy Death Day 2 U brings dark humor to the fast-paced thrills of horror. As main character Tree has to yet again navigate the sci-fi like world around her to escape her masked killer, she includes dark and snarky commentary on the shock factor of horror films and their sequels. The contrast creates an absurdly fun movie to watch while also surprisingly bringing up questions of existentialism and morality.

The movie starts off at the same place where the last one ended, on Sept. 19 where Ryan, Tree’s boyfriend’s roommate, and his experiment known as the Sissy, a quantum cooling reactor, get introduced. The same events that occured to Tree in the last movie start to happen to Ryan as well, with the same masked killer stalking him. With the realization that they are both now stuck in this deadly loop, Tree hatches a plan to fight back. However, due to some unexplained complications during the fight, she is thrust into an alternate universe with the killer. Before the killer catches her, Tree must navigate this new universe and learn how to get back home.

One of the key aspects that makes this film so memorable is Jessica Rothe, the actress who plays Tree. Her facial expressions drive the jokes forward, with an almost cartoonish characterization to her character. This fun, cheerful characterization creates a stark contrast to the grim reality of Tree’s life and blends sarcastic and dark humor. However, the emotional turn in the middle of the movie brings us closer to her character, not as a typical snarky college student, but as an actual person with real fears and dilemmas. Her interactions with the rest of the cast throughout the movie brings us closer to them, especially Ryan, who was merely a side character in the last film.

Director Christopher Landon has differentiated the sequel from the first by including enough twists into the story to keep us engaged. The film also allows a new experience, seperate from the expectations the first movie created. While it may not live up to the initial response to Happy Death Day, the formula is still uncommon enough to enjoy the movie.

While the movie is fun, it is also very convoluted, and will take a few moments to get bearings on the situation at hand. The horror has also taken a backseat in the sequel, with Happy Death Day 2 U leaning more towards dark sci-fi than actual horror. The switch between real deaths and the fantasy machinery blends the line between humor and serious reflection, and it becomes a bit hard to differentiate between when to laugh and when to stay serious. But the contrast between light and dark highlights the suspense of the movie. From going through the peppy brightness of Tree’s college life to the dark and gloomy setting of the hospital where Tree interacts with her killer, the change creates suspense without relying on cheap jump scares to set the mood. Although the movie can become stagnant at some points, adding scenes that don’t seem to contribute to the plot as a whole.

Happy Death Day 2 U is the perfect movie for those who just want some laughs sprinkled with a little bit of mystery. Somewhat like a grown-up Scooby-Doo, it combines unrealistic horror with dark teenage humor, making the movie perfect to watch for some mindless fun.