Jessica Rothe and writer-director Christopher Landon return for the sequel to the 2018 Blumhouse slasher, set two years after the events of the first film.
Our critic Tony Stamp was pleasantly surprised by this sequel. He also wants to rewind his own clock on his review for the first film.
First, a confession: I totally underrated Happy Death Day. In the cesspool of tepid PG13 horror it was refreshingly self-aware, and more importantly, genuinely funny. It knew it was a comedy first and foremost, and honestly, I may have missed that. Anyway, let’s retroactively bump up my review a star.
This second instalment leans even further into the silliness, for better and worse. There are some scares sprinkled in for sure, but they take a firm backseat to time-loop antics and the additional wrinkle of multiple dimensions to deal with. Happy Death Day 2U comes out of the gate swinging, throwing out all sorts of complications, and initially it seems like this sequel may even have a different lead to its predecessor.
Soon enough though, Jessica Rothe takes centre stage again, and once more she totally owns it. As every other critic has noted, Rothe totally rules. She’s fearless, and it’s hard to imagine she won’t be a huge star someday soon. Even more than the first one, this Day takes a very carefree approach to its multiple, slapstick-y death scenes, and Rothe gleefully rises to the challenge.
At times, things do get a bit too goofy, mostly when certain supporting characters get involved. The emotional elements are also cranked up, and while Rothe’s arc is quite poignant, certain syrupy moments of melodrama might be ladled on too thickly.
While the first one shamelessly referenced Groundhog Day, the sequel nods (multiple times) to Back To The Future Part 2, an ambitious thing to aim for in terms of time travel shenanigans. Happy Death Day 2U does bite off slightly more than it can chew, and ends up leaving several plot threads dangling, but it has so much fun along the way that any niggles are easily forgotten.