Sing along: Happy Death Day to You. Happy Death Day to You. Happy Death Day Dear Theresa. Happy Death Day to You.
Birthdays are a milestone in your life. It is the one day a year where you can gather with your favorite people to celebrate your life by gorging on sweets and opening gifts. But when birthdays turn deadly, the day goes from joyous to tragic.
This latest Christopher Landon movie by indie-horror production company Blumhouse (Get Out, Paranormal Activity, The Purge), is a throwback to the teen slasher movies of the beloved 90s and early 2000s.
By throwback, I mean an obvious reference to Bill Murray’s “Groundhog Day.”
But it’s still a fresh take on the seen-it-all-before slasher genre.
Together, Landon and screenwriter Scott Lobdell, maintain intense scenes and light humor as they deliver on classic horror movie locations (dark hospital hallways, car parks, and creepy, deserted underpasses), and a montage to Demi Lovato’s empowerment anthem Confident.
In Groundhog Day fashion, Theresa “Tree” Gelbman (Jessica Rothe), a self-centered sorority girl, begins each morning the same way: she wakes up hung-over in a strange dorm room, which belongs to Carter Davis (Israel Broussard), takes a walk of shame across campus, and continues her day cranky and cynical until that evening, when boom somebody in a creepy baby mask murders her again, again, and again.
Tree must figure out who is trying to kill her and why. During the loop, she has time to evaluate her life. Eventually, the young party girl becomes resourceful with each relived day and reveals a new layer of her character.
Eventually, Tree starts to weaken (due to multiple violent deaths). As a result, she changes as a person. She starts trying to set things right, and be less self-centered by developing compassion for other students, friends, strangers, and even her family.
The movie was aimed to funny and a bit creepy, but it also conveyed an underlying message about thinking about others instead of yourself.
As for the movie’s slasher elements, they’re not completely gory or scary; they fall in line with the movie’s lighthearted tone. It’s an okay mix of humor and thrill. The movie rated PG-13 and for good reason. There is explicit language and a bit of sexual content referenced but not actually seen. The violence is kept to a minimum, there isn’t any on-screen killing, just blood to imply her death.
As for Rothe, her performance was unexpected and compelling. Her spirit was a perfect balance to portray a girl in a troubling predicament. The comic relief was enjoyable, I have never laughed during a murder scene.
So, at the next birthday party, you attend make sure you sing Birthday instead of Death day or else you run the risk of looking seriously creepy.
It’s also important to keep your sanity. After all, the movie isn’t real. You won’t die on your birthday – well no promises. According to 2012 Epidemiology study, there is a 14 percent chance of dying on your birthday after the age of 60. But if you must retreat to utter paranoia, wait a few more decades.