When the trailer came out for the original Happy Death Day back in 2017, I thought that the movie would be a hit or a miss—and with a PG-13 rating, I was leaning more toward the latter. However, I was pleasantly surprised when walking out of the theater at how great of a movie it turned out to be. Who knew that a PG-13 horror film could actually work? And from Blumhouse, no less, which hasn’t had the best track record in that department.
Fast-forward to 2018, when the announcement was made that we would be getting a sequel. But… how would that work? The first film tells the story of Tree, a college student who is caught in a ceaselessly repeating time loop of the same day. So how do you make a sequel to that? Have her get caught in the loop again? Create a new loop? Catch another character in a loop?
The trailer was released a short time later, and it at least looked like they were going the route of having a minor character caught in a time loop. Off the bat, I wasn’t interested, but the trailer continued on, revealing that there was so much more to it. This trailer made the movie look great totally unpredictable.
The film, at first, follows Ryan—a very minor character from the first film—as he goes about his day and winds up being killed, only to start the same day over again. But, that story soon intersects with Tree and Carter right where we left off with them at the end of the first film.
As it turns out, this film explains how Tree wound up in a time loop in the first place, which is where things get complicated. Ryan and his nerdy friends engineered some kind of device that created the time loop, and when the dean of the college comes to shut the project down, something goes awry, throwing Tree into an alternate reality wherein everything is different—including Tree’s mother being alive. Now, Tree has to decide whether to go back to her true reality, where she’s with Carter, or stay in this alternate reality with her mother.
So, it doesn’t sound like a horror film, does it? That’s because this movie really isn’t a horror film. The first one is definitely horror film, with Tree being killed daily and trying to figure out the mystery and so on. This film, though, turns into a drama really quickly centered around Tree having to make this horribly emotional about whether or not to stay with her mother in a different universe or return to her normal life without her.
I found myself wondering, as I was watching it, if it really was a horror film and where all of the horror aspects were. Is there still a killer? Yes, but the film seems to forget about that for a while, and once it’s revealed it’s almost like, “Okay, who cares?”
I did still enjoy this movie, just because it was something different. They easily could have taken the crappy road of just having Ryan be in his own time loop, and I’m glad they didn’t. But, this begs the question of whether the sequel needed to be made at all, and the answer is simple: no. The first film works very well on its own, and all the sequel did was exactly what it didn’t need to, which is explain the first film. And by doing that, it really took a lot of the fun out of it for me.
Overall, I don’t think Happy Death Day 2U is that great, but it’s still decent for what it is.
[P.S. There’s a scene midway through the credit sequence for anyone who might want to stick around to see it]