Happy Death Day 2U brings us reprisals from Jessica Rothe (Theresa “Tree” Gelbman), Israel Broussard (Carter Davis), Phi Vu (Ryan Phan), and a handful of others from the previous film. Similar to that of Happy Death Day, Jessica Rothe appears to outshine the cast of Happy Death Day 2U and provides an immense amount of humor to the film having found herself in the same situation as before. The biggest difference I noticed between the original and its sequel was their approach. The second time around they decided to appeal almost too much to its audience by adding in about fifty comedic moments with only a shameful twelve that landed. Just like a majority of the jokes in this film, I believe the other cast members fall flat in their roles, appearing to have difficulty in finding comfort in a new dimension.
While the film had many killer cringe moments, there were a few stand out moments in the film that I believed captured the true beauty of what the original film brought to the table. That saying, before neglecting the movie for its comedy, I want to state that I loved one specific scene that made me burst out laughing in the theater: the call back to Tree waking up and walking outside to the same day as the original film. That however left me on a high and dry note waiting for more scenes that mirrored it but never came to be.
The film started out rocky with explaining its lazy use of time travel as its crutch but also does something beautiful. It acknowledges the idea of Tree’s deceased mother being her guardian angel helping her through the first movie. While there was no explanation for how Tree was able to relive the same day in the first movie, I found the acknowledgment of the concept more fascinating than time travel being chosen as the reason. I felt like those few lines between Tree and Carter were the writers reflecting on what could have been, just like we the audience wish it would have been.
The use of time travel serves as a method of delivery to the new dimension was a cause of confusion for much of the film. By the end of the film, I found myself with more questions than answers. The opportunity of this film to deliver a storyline centered around time-travel was tremendous, but, just as many have faulted within the past, the execution of the time-travel storyline was not carried out well, leaving sour feelings with the viewer by the end of the film.
As a fan and a lover of the horror genre, I was disappointed, but only because I’ve seen too many franchises like this turned into mindless cash grabs. Even the main actor seemed to dislike the lines she was reading. If that was their intended goal, to turn a smart spin on the concept of groundhogs day and mix-it-up with more iconic films, then I think they might have put too much into the mixer.
Overall, I give Happy Death Day 2U this review from a critical point of view and highly suggest you watch the original to see if you agree.