HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U (2019) Reviews and overview

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‘Death makes a killer comeback’
Happy Death Day 2U is a 2019 comedy horror slasher feature film written and directed by Christopher Landon (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse; Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones).

The movie is obviously the sequel to his Happy Death Day (2017), which was a phenomenal success, taking $122,637,878 at the box office worldwide, even before residual home viewing sales. The Jason Blum produced movie stars Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Phi Vu and Suraj Sharma.

Home viewing:
Happy Death Day 2U was released digitally on April 30 and on Blu-ray and DVD on May 14 via Universal Pictures. Special features:

  • The Never-ending Birthday featurette
  • Web of Love: Tree’s Nightmare featurette
  • Multiverse 101 featurette
  • Deleted scene
  • Gag reel

Collegian Tree Gelbman wakes up in horror to learn that she’s stuck in a parallel universe. Her boyfriend Carter is now with someone else, and her friends and fellow students seem to be completely different versions of themselves.

When Tree discovers that Carter’s roommate has been altering time, she finds herself once again the target of a masked killer. When the psychopath starts to go after her inner circle, Tree soon realises that she must die over and over again to save everyone…

“Overall, it’s arguably a better film than the first, but it’s even less of a genre entry than the original, which is an advantage or disadvantage depending on what you’re looking for in your horror-comedy. Personally, this writer found it endearing and can’t wait to watch it again. And again.” Arrow in the Head

” …drowns in a sea of slapstick, pratfalls, and exaggerated outrageousness that would better fit an I Love Lucy rerun than a sequel to a slasher, even one that wasn’t 100% serious to begin with […] While weird creative choices can be questioned, something not up for debate is Jessica Rothe earning her second straight MVP trophy as the undisputed standout.” Culture Crypt

…Happy Death Day 2U is so busy having fun that it often forgets to be a slasher — but given the original’s slight, bloodless scares (both films are PG-13 in the US), it’s hard to care. The film wears its sci-fi influences brazenly, crafting them into an entertainingly bonkers funhouse ride that wisely wraps up before it runs out of steam.” Empire

” …deserves a healthy amount of praise for pushing its pedal to the metal all the way through. It’s hard not to get the impression that no idea was really shot down in terms of generating story here, no matter how bonkers it all seemed. The level of risk-taking is refreshing, even when it’s not completely successful at every single turn.” IGN

“Happy Death Day 2U can’t quite replicate the feelings of joy and discovery of the original, but Landon deserves credit for varying the tune, while still playing the hits that will please the fans of its predecessor.” Los Angeles Times

Happy Death Day had aspirations of a genre-bender, with one wobbly foot in the grave and the other on the stage of a comedy club; Happy Death Day 2U is the sturdier movie. The trappings of horror are still there — the knife-wielding killer, suddenly emerging from darkness — but overall the tone is action-comedy with a smattering of sci-fi.” Polygon

” …it doubles down on the elements that most people seemed to like about the original Happy Death Day (namely, the dark comedy), and adds a fun sci-fi ingredient to the recipe. Even if there were more competition for the horror audience right now, the film would still stand out from the rest of the crowd, thanks to its potpourri of genres and sheer unapologetic playfulness.” ScreenRant

“The acting is decidedly worse this time around, and so is the writing, which is peppered with the sort of lazily horny asides that too many films—particularly films about social groups of men and young people—supply as if by demand. They’re a distraction here, and they don’t really fit the movie’s world/” K. Austin Collins, Vanity Fair

” …lost enough in its own narrative helix that it forgets to be a horror thriller. The movie stays busy in a way that keeps you watching, but it doesn’t provide that low-grade buzz of satisfaction the first film did. You could, theoretically, give it points for ambition…” Owen Gleiberman, Variety

Both the first film and the sequel have been novelized by Aaron Hartzler into one 288-page book via Anchor Books.

During production, actress Jessica Rothe described the sequel as “a Back to the Future type of genre film where the sequel joins us right from where we left off, it explains a lot of things in the first one that didn’t get explained, and it elevates everything. I was really pleased to know that we weren’t just gonna be pushing all the buttons that people loved the first time, over and over again, ’cause I think that gets old. I’m really excited to see if it comes to fruition and, if it does, what the final product looks like. I hope we get to do it! I had a ball!”

Director Christopher Landon told Entertainment Weekly that the end credits sequence of Happy Death Day 2U provides clues to a possible third entry in the series.

Landon said: “There’s a big clue already in [Happy Death Day 2U]. There’s an end credit sequence, so people who stick around, they’ll see that. But, beyond that, mum’s the word right now.”

He added, “I have more than an idea. I always imagined this as a trilogy, so I have the third movie, but it’s just a question of whether this one does well. I would love to make the third one. I think it’s a really bonkers, fun idea.”

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