Happy Death Day

Happy Death Day

Happy Death Day 

2017.  Directed by Christopher B. Landon 

By Brian Wallinger 

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Blumhouse Pictures recent entry into their horror film catalog is a film that is better than it has any right to be, despite never realizing its potential.  

Taking formulaic elements from films such as Groundhog Day and Edge Of Tomorrow, the plot revolves around a college student, played by actress Jessica Roth.  On the night of her birthday, she is stalked and murdered. She then awakens on the morning of the same day, forced to relive her death dozen of times as she attempts to discover her her killer is. 

At her side to help her through her ordeal is actor Israel Broussard. Together Broussard and Roth share a positive balance that keeps the film worth while until the end. The environment, atmosphere and supporting cast lack originality. There is virtually no major developments or depth within a tired final act that feels rushed and predictable. The screenplay, written by Scott Lobdell, lacks any real tension or serious emotions, producing a disposable (but fun) film that attempts to pass itself off as as a suspenseful thriller aimed towards a millennial audience. There are moments of over-acting in Roth's performance, but overall she does well with what she has to work with.

Despite these flaws, Happy Death Day builds a steady progression through its pacing and run time, while boasting a solid middle act that is both clever and humorous. However, cheap motivations and cliche' life lessons abound during a predictable finale.  Happy Death Day certainly isn't the worst film of the year, though it would make a better viewing experience as a midnight rental. Everything from the initial plot devices to its cinematography feels very by the book and never dares to be anything more.

☆☆

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