Movie Description: “A college student must relive the day of her murder over and over again, in a loop that will end only when she discovers her killer’s identity.”
I enjoyed the direction they were attempting to take this plot that has been used before in films such as Groundhog Day and Edge of Tomorrow. The idea to repeat the same day a countless amount of times would seem horrifying and that’s what they explore here, there’s this sense of being trapped and helpless. They tried to establish that tone of terror, but that was destroyed with their drastic tone shifts and odd choice of upbeat music with such an unsettling story of a murderer that succeeds in killing you each time. What kept me hooked with the narrative was the mission to reveal the killer and understanding how the protagonist was in this time loop, but by the end of it the reveal was predictable and underwhelming. The reason as to why she was able to relive each day is never acknowledged.
When she begins to put the pieces together, trying to figure out this mystery, it wasn’t interesting. I did enjoy the positive message in this film that involves the character arc of the protagonist, she evolves as a character from beginning to end and that’s something I did enjoy seeing. The storytelling felt average, which is still almost impossible to do with any movie. The best way to describe this story is literally Groundhog Day meets Scream, except not as charming or clever. Happy Death Day was, unfortunately, unintentionally hysterical as I could not take that baby masked killer seriously at all.
To me, great cinematography is when the visuals are contributing to the storytelling. A film should SHOW us what’s going on rather than tell us. When it comes to analyzing cinematography, simply, I ask myself, “Was this film nice to look at?” Then I can choose to get in depth and look for whether colors were symbolic, placement of characters in the frame, composition, lighting, shadows, and point of view.
The cinematographer did a great job of showing me the main characters state of mind with his use of lighting. As she repeats the same day, an increase of green and grim tint becomes more visible over the picture. That’s a great way of communicating what she feels without telling me. I thought the visual horror landscape was not well done because the physical, emotional, and psychological frights failed to impact me.
Jessica Rothe did a solid job of carrying this movie. She had a lot of nice moments of showcasing her ability to be rude, vulnerable, and fearful. This was a good performance, but it still does not stand out enough compared to the rest of the cast which felt serviceable.
The soundtrack can be really impactful in a horror film and it wasn’t useful at all here. If anything, whenever they used the music it indicated to me when they would use their jump scares or whenever the main character was in danger and that diminished the tension. The theme of the baby masked killer sounded like crying babies and it was just so funny. Also like I mentioned before, the song choices completely threw off the blending of the tones.
The message I got from Happy Death Day: every day is an opportunity to be a better person.
I was not impressed with this film. I thought it was a satisfactory viewing at the most and that’s only because it kept me intrigued with figuring out the mystery with the protagonist. It was the end results of each plot point and the lousy build up of pure horror that felt disappointing. I loved seeing the main character change though, the message is what really prevents me from saying that this is a bad film. Scream, Groundhog Day, and Scream Queens does it better. Thanks for reading my review and I hope you love this film. My rating for Happy Death Day is 7/10!