Movies and TV shows featuring “time loops”, where a single day repeats endlessly for someone until they get things right, don’t get released very often, but when they do they are so much fun. Groundhog Day is considered a classic and Edge of Tomorrow is one of the best reviewed movies of Tom Cruise‘s career. The latest movie to feature a repeating day, the thriller Happy Death Day, may not be remembered years from now like the Bill Murray hit, but it may very well be one of the best horror-comedies to come out in years.
Jessica Rothe plays the oddly named Tree, one of the biggest bitches on campus. One day, which happens to be her birthday, she wakes up in some guy’s dorm room and proceeds to live out her day. That night, while on her way to a party, she is attacked by someone wearing a baby mask and is brutally murdered. After being killed, she immediately wakes up in the same dorm room and has to live out the same day over and over, dying again and again. Eventually she starts talking to Carter (the guy who’s dorm room she keeps waking up in), and they figure that the only way to stop the endless loop is to figure out who is murdering her and stop the killer before they can get to her.
So while Happy Death Day is a horror/comedy/thriller hybrid, the emphasis is most definitely on the comedy. This is one of the most laugh out loud funny movies I have seen this year. Honestly, the movie may be THE funniest horror film I’ve ever seen. The slight downside to this is that the movie is not scary in the least, so viewers looking to fulfill their terror quota should look elsewhere.
While there are some great one liners, the main reason everything works so well is because of the perfect comic timing of star Jessica Rothe. Happy Death Day is her first leading role in a Hollywood movie, but you wouldn’t know it – she seems like a seasoned pro. Her delivery is spot on and her reactions are hilarious. I’d be willing to bet that this will be her breakout role and bigger and better things are coming her way. The rest of the cast is adequate, but due to the nature of the film they are pretty much required to act the same in each of their scenes. The supporting actors are basically irrelevant though, as this is 100% Rothe’s movie – she is every single second of the film, and really the only character that matters.
I was completely unprepared for what I was about to watch going to see this movie. I actually had little interest in seeing it at first, and really only changed my mind due to the favorable reviews it was receiving. I never expected to love this movie to the extent that I did, and I’m glad that I went back on my original decision. I thoroughly enjoyed Happy Death Day from beginning to end, and I recommend you try and catch it if you can.
FINAL GRADE: A-