By Edmund Cheng
Happy Death Day follows Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe), an American College Student, who finds herself stuck in a daily time-loop (causing her to relive the day she dies, over and over again, to no avail). Plot concept sound familiar? It hints at the iconic 1993 comedy Groundhog Day, which starred a gobsmacked Bill Murray (Ghostbusters).
Tree starts out as the beloved female protagonist. Beloved – as in awfully egotistical. She is a feisty young woman, who treats everyone who crosses her path with impudence. If Mr Burns from the Simpsons had a spoiled, promiscuous and self-indulgent niece, she would be Tree. So, it’s no surprise that she groans at the sight of waking up in her classmate Carter’s (Israel Broussard) dorm room.
Although she appears to both Carter and us as a drunken, drooling hung-over ‘tramp,’ with her droopy, mascara smeared eyes, Carter evolves into Tree’s unlikely and closest ally, as Tree tries to figure out why she keeps reliving the day she meets her non-accidental death.
As the movie progresses, we are afforded glimpses of the Michael Myer’s like shadowy figure who is after Tree with a concealed identity behind a novelty Cupid mask. The ordeal repeats for her, as she keeps waking up in a sweat of panic. And on each subsequent occasion, Carter to engages even more closely with our protagonist to help her uncover the culprit’s identity. Together Carter and Tree put together a list of those who may want her dead. Speculations ranges from her disgruntled room-mate Lori (Ruby Modine), judgmental sorority ‘sister’ Danielle (Rachel Matthews) and Tree’s college lecturer Gregory (Charles Aitken) who she had an affair with.
Tree becomes determined to put an end to the madness for good, forcing her to rectify the reckless nature of her soul, and its impact on everyone around her. This notion of fruitful change, in attribute to the positive message intended via Director Christopher Landon and Screenwriter Scott Lobdell leaves the audience cheering for her, as she charges on throughout the episodic nightmare. We even feel some heartfelt emotions for a moment upon Tree’s reconciliation with a seriously neglected family member.
Happy Death Day offers its viewers a fun and thrilling mind-boggling experience, through comedic horror, a genre that is largely judged by its extent of hip & wittiness.
Oh and as the title may suggest, all of this repetitive madness takes place on her BIRTHDAY!