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'Happy Death Day'—A Movie Review

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Well, that sounds encouraging! But, didn’t I just hear those exact same words yesterday? And the day before? And a week ago? Something is strange! I have been repeating the same day over and over for a whole week now!

Jessica Rothe sure didn’t expect to wake up on her birthday for a whole week in Happy Death Day, a 2017 film directed by Christopher Landon. This genre of films is my favorite! It’s similar to the film Groundhog Day or even the book Before I Fall written by Lauren Oliver. Although a similar plot line, does Happy Death Day lack anything in its construction?

Tree (Jessica Rothe) is a student in college spending her time partying, slacking off, sleeping with a teacher and ignoring her calls from her dad. I was looking forward to watching this film. Afterward, I was left disappointed by the lame reveal and underdeveloped characters to the delivery of annoying dialogue at times. It was also poorly executed, leaving in a couple of plot holes.

That aside, Happy Death Day does have a good message and Jessica Rothe’s performance is wonderful and captivating at times. Of all days anybody would be happy to enjoy, Tree brushes off her birthday as if it were nothing. At the end of the night, a dark figure wearing a baby mask keeps killing her.

So, does this college have a baby as its mascot?

During the time loop, Tree befriends Carter (Israel Broussard), who symbolizes her guardian angel. Tree doesn’t have many good friends to rely on, which may supply why she acts the way she does. Due to the loss of an important figure, Tree runs from her feelings. Carter, who is a total stranger, helps her and promises to help Tree out from this time loop. That’s friendship.

One line that really spoke to me was Tree’s line, "When you relive the same day over and over you start to figure out who you are." Nobody is perfect and we also have to face everyday life challenges and even losses. I am happy that there is growth from Tree (no pun intended). Rothe did a very well-done job performing as Tree. Her emotion, having to be stressed out every minute, horror movie screams, and her turning into an action-packed girl kept my interest.

I’ll be honest. I ended up spoiling the movie for myself before watching this film, so I knew who the killer was. Although it was a little obvious, I credit the film for its edits and clues. But the killer's motivation is really dumb! And Tree’s reaction even credits that.

Though, in one of the time loops it's revealed that if Tree had apologized to this certain person, then all would have been good. It’s a shame that they end up reaching their demise in the end.

Happy Death Day could have been better if someone edited it twice. Plot holes are never taken well among any audiences, and the characters do get lucky a little too easily. There were a few instances where I was talking to the screen trying to give Tree some advice on how to hide from a killer.

Criticism aside, I really believe that Happy Death Day has some good messages. Don’t be afraid to be you, give others a chance, and it’s never too late to change who you are. And call your parents.

I enjoyed watching the plot unfold and even seeing how Rothe responded to each day. Stories like these take creative talent. I am curious to see what the sequel, Happy Death Day 2U, will reveal. 

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'Happy Death Day'—A Movie Review
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