Film review - Happy Death Day 2U

Christopher Landon's Happy Death Day 2U is a movie that thrives on repetition (think Groundhog Day or Edge of Tomorrow) and yet, somehow, does not feel repetitious in its execution.
Jessica Rothe reprises her role as Tree Gelbman in Happy Death Day 2UJessica Rothe reprises her role as Tree Gelbman in Happy Death Day 2U
Jessica Rothe reprises her role as Tree Gelbman in Happy Death Day 2U

And that is execution in both the film's quality and the infinite number of ways our leading lady can - and will - be sliced, diced or otherwise dismembered.

Fortunately, this isn't the Saw version of Groundhog Day, and even in spite of that, its actual faults and the lack-of-originality-curse that haunts sequels, these movies are fun, cute and entirely disposable.

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Once again, we follow Tree (Jessica Rothe) as she relives the same day over and over again, dying at the end each time. While in time-loops past she has endured endless serial-killer slaughters, here she must endure the emotional hardship of a different dimension, one in which her dead mother is alive and well.

This new focus of dimensional travel is ultimately the insanity giving itself a smack on the wrist, but it's strangely the smack it needed to stay fresh and exciting.

The elements of horror here drastically fail but, unlike the first film, it isn't a horror. It's a comedy - grounded (not 'Groundhogged') by Rothe's pitch-perfect comedic performance - with sci-fi elements and an emotional undercurrent stemming from the mother-daughter relationship.

From that, this film - in which some weirdo with a knife and Chucky-looking-mask is your friendly neighbourhood butcher - raises a rather profound concept of saying goodbye. Not just goodbye to your Nan or Auntie after they visit for Christmas, but to a loved one when you know it's the last time you get to tell them you love them.

And I'm not ashamed to say I let go of a few sly tears.

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Sentimentality and serial killers weren't overly linked in my mind in a pre-2U world: but they are now, even if the rest of the narrative isn't perfect.

Or to be more precise: much of the story is redundant, as it tries to answer questions no-one wanted answering by posing more questions that still don't have answers.

For all its faults, Happy Death Day 2U is a fun, cute and disposable science-fiction comedy. I could poke at the dumbness with a stick for hours and get a chuckle or two, but that won't change the fact it made me laugh, think and (big breath in) ... cry.