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  Happy Death Day 2U Here They Go Again
Year: 2019
Director: Christopher Landon
Stars: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Phi Vu, Suraj Sharma, Sarah Yarkin, Rachel Matthews, Ruby Modine, Steve Zissis, Charles Aitken, Laura Clifton, Missy Yager, Jason Bayle, Caleb Spillyards, Jimmy Gonzalez, Peter Jaymes Jr, Rob Mello, Kenneth Israel
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Science Fiction, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Ryan (Phi Vu) wakes up in his car, gets out and makes his way to his college dorm, having had to sleep elsewhere because his roommate Carter (Israel Broussard) has been supposedly entertaining a lady friend. When he returns, she is still there so off he goes to the laboratory where he and two fellow students have been conducting an experiment with the machine they have built, the idea being that they can make a link between dimensions on a quantum level - if the thing works, as they tried it last night and only created a power cut. But things have gone strange in a way Ryan doesn't understand, so imagine his surprise when he is abruptly stabbed to death by a masked maniac...

The first Happy Death Day was a very pleasant surprise, not often you can say that about a horror movie, a mixture of comedy classic Groundhog Day and the Final Destination franchise that turned out to be very successful, both artistically and at the box office. Yet another genre effort from the Blumhouse studio, where that could have meant a production line from that variable provenance, here was an offering that seemed to get everything just right, it was funny and suspenseful in equal measure and brought together by a terrific performance from Jessica Rothe; she had been in the business since childhood, and had evidently learned a few things from her experiences.

Such as how to play a nuanced character in the atmosphere of a potentially schlocky chiller, and as she was returning for this sequel, once again she was the focus, and once again she was terrific, having changed from her selfishness in the original, yet retaining that grim determination to make sure things work out for herself. It was just that now she was on a mission, to secure a brighter future - or simply making it to a brighter next day would be enough - for those around her. Assuming one of them is not a knife-wielding murderer that would not be out of place in a slasher movie, that was, as the killer from the original was substituted for someone else this time out.

That was down to Rothe's Tree being in a different set of dimensions thanks to Ryan, who has replaced her in the time loop for the first act of the film and as far as we can tell has been going to desperate lengths to extricate himself from it and make sure everything goes back to normal. With a hokey explanation for the whole time warp business, this should have been equally corny, and there were parts where it drifted towards the sentimental where you wondered if director Christopher Landon had quite the sure hand on his material that you would have wanted him to. But every time you thought, here we go, now the movie goes off the boil, it recovered with a sequence that was truly ingenious, well-acted, or merely supplied a cracking line of dialogue or an exchange to triumph with.

The whole cast were extremely dedicated to making what must have been difficult to keep track of as coherent as possible, and it was accurate to say you did not notice the illogical elements while you were watching, or rather you did, but they were adeptly incorporated into the plot to generate a mood of "I meant to do that!" on the part of the filmmakers. Special mention to Rachel Matthews who had a superb showcase of her comedy talents as the self-centred Danielle, the girl who in the new dimensions is now going out with Carter, much to Tree's consternation: she was often hilarious and would have stolen the show had it not been for Rothe's domination of the proceedings. The science fiction and humour sides tended to dominate this time around, as if Landon was aware of the benefits of concentrating on those judging by how well they had gone in the source, but the suspense was not neglected even if the integration was not quite as smooth as before. Nonetheless, for a sequel to a horror movie, Happy Death Day 2U was a welcome achievement where everything satisfied. Music by Bear McCreary, having a lot of fun himself.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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