As someone who loves mystery/thrillers, it’s always a fun game for me to figure out who did what while sitting in a packed theater full of screams and a slur of curse words as the jump scares keep me on the edge of my seat.
For those of you who know the classic movie with Bill Murray, “Groundhog Day” (1993), this new rendition of the repetitive time loop is adapted into a mystery/thriller called “Happy Death Day,” released on Friday the 13th this month.
Director Christopher B. Landon, also known for his works in the last three “Paranormal Activity” films, did an excellent job replaying the life of Tree (Jessica Rothe), as she repeatedly relived the day she was murdered.
The film begins with the first run-through of her life, where she unknowingly lives her life as she usually would as a college sorority girl selfishly unconcerned about anyone other than herself. After following her through her standard day, it doesn’t take long for the audience to immediately hate the protagonist, an unusual murder mystery perspective provided by the director.
Just after her first death, the plot unwinds and the game begins. Questions immediately started filling my brain: Who are the characters introduced? What do we know about them? Who has the motive to kill her? Why is her birthday relevant?
Ironically enough, just about everyone she comes into contact with has a motive. No one liked her, and she didn’t seem to have any real friends she treated well. Many of the characters are slighted by her in one way or another, but does that truly give them the motive for murder?
As the scenes show every possible reaction and solution to Tree’s predicament, Landon takes viewers on a ride that is both thrilling and even humorous at times. With all of the scenes moving so fast and as more information pours through each death do-over, I couldn’t help but get lost in the story and find myself completely wrong in my assertion and befuddled at the end result.
Since Halloween is just around the corner, “Happy Death Day” is a relaxation compared to the blood, gore and anxiety of the other October horror films. I enjoyed it as a whole and would recommend it to anyone who has been missing their take on mystery movies.
To be fair, “Happy Death Day” is by no means a classic, nor will it be one of those all-star movies up for any awards, but it is a fun and quirky movie that’s great for anyone to see. Whether you go as a group of friends or with the family, everyone’s bound to leave a little spooked and with a smile.