Everything needs a sequel, or at least that’s how it seems nowadays. Even in some cases, stand-alone films holding off elements of their story exclusively for the sequel. Mainly why 2017 hit Happy Death Day doesn’t explain the origin of its main characters predicament. But the film’s success inspired a sequel, one that answered questions and playfully raised new ones in 2019’s Happy Death Day 2 U.
After solving her own murder, Tree is enjoying her relationship with Carter however, when room-mate Ryan starts receiving Deja-vu deaths, he turns to the expert, Tree, to protect him. It is revealed that science project Mcguffin “Crispy” is responsible for the time-loops and in the process of stopping the device, accidentally sends Tree to an alternative timeline. In this world some things are better; some things are worse and it’s up to Tree to decide. Which timeline is more worth it?
The conceit of an alternative timeline allows a smart and graceful do-over for the conclusion of the first film. Fans of the first film will now get to re-enjoy many classic scenes from Happy Death Day (with some eerie alternative universe twists) We also get another repeat of Tree’s birthday, that Tree wants none of. The horror elements have also been toned down for the broad sci-fi quandaries, although they haven’t been stripped out entirely, as joining the elements that make a return is the unforgettable showdown set in the hospital (where Tree met her end many times before). There are some newer flourishes too, like an upbeat death montage set to Hard Times by Paramore that still captures the magic, that the original Happy Death Day brought two years ago.
It’s amicable that H.D.D.2.U. tries to be a people pleaser. The film fits in a lot of sequel concepts that most franchises dedicate entire instalments to. We get new characters, but they don’t demand focus, what we get instead is a closer look at the previous personalities from the first. Some characters have been redeemed, and some have been vilified. It breathes some fresher air into these archetypes and adds an extra dimension to them and the world, who knew Danielle had such a talent for acting?
H.D.D.2.U. builds on the capital earned by the first film, like a magician, it reveals one trick to show off something grander. Horror fans and Sci-Fi fans and everyone in between will have something to enjoy while watching. With this entry, the Happy Death Day franchise has certainly shown its legs, with its smart blending of trope-aware heroes and Sci-Fi shenanigans. We also get a new slasher franchise that we haven’t had in a while, like it or not Tree and the gang have endured again-and-again and slashed their way into our hearts.
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