Happy Death Day 2U (2019) — Back to Tree’s future

“Do I look like somebody knows what a multiverse is?”

Justin’s rating: How to not kill yourself

Justin’s review: Upon finishing watching and reviewing Happy Death Day, I knew I had to quickly snap up and watch Happy Death Day 2U. Not only are we talking about another time loop movie (and I am a total sucker for those), but this is the first time loop movie sequel that I’ve ever seen made. Happy Death Day was an incredibly fun surprise, less of a horror movie and more of a scifi mystery, and I’m totally on board to see what the filmmakers could come up with for a follow-up.

It’s the very next day at Bayfield University — the day after sorority co-ed Tree (Jessica Rothe) went through a vicious time loop that saw her repeated murders. Now she’s safe, a much nicer person, and in a blossoming relationship with nerdy Carter (Israel Broussard). And best of all, the repeating day nonsense is over, right?

Right?

Oh no.

The big question lurking behind the events of the first movie was what actually sent Tree into the time loop and why killing her killer got her out of it. It turns out that there was a hinky science project going on at the university led by Carter’s roommate in the quantum physics department. And now that experiment might be out of control. Oh, and did I mention that there just so happens to be another Baby mask killer out there?

Happy Death Day 2U once again jolts us out of the realm of one-dimensional slasher horror and gives us a tasty mix-up of traditional genres. It’s nominally a slasher movie, but it’s also a science-fiction romp, a comedy, and another mystery. And this time more people than just Tree are in on the time-bending weirdness.

Having Tree as a newly minted expert on deadly time loops instantly makes this sequel a different animal. She thinks she knows the rules and starts out as a guru of the afterlife, but this time around there’s a twist. If Happy Death Day paid shameless homage to Groundhog Day, 2U gleefully draws inspiration from Back to the Future Part II’s twisty-turny time streams. Now there are parallel dimensions, dopplegangers, a trip back to the first movie, and other craziness.

As with the first movie, Jessica Roth is a delight to witness. She can turn on intensity, action, humor, genuine tears, and terror like nobody’s business, and I couldn’t stop laughing to see her monumentally freaking out as she was accidentally thrown back to the Monday of the previous movie.

While Tree tries to use the time loop to her advantage to figure out the new mystery of this parallel universe, her accumulated injuries start taking their toll (again). One does wonder how many times you can be murdered and commit suicide before your mind shatters and your body can’t take any more. So there’s this added tension of how many loops Tree can take before she’s done for good.

More confusing but also more delightfully bonkers than its predecessor, Happy Death Day 2U steps down hard on the accelerator and doesn’t let up until the end. It might not be quite as funny, scary, or as focused as the first movie, but this film still added value to the series. And what a ride it was.

Didja notice?

  • The Back to the Future II nods, including “Biff’s Tree Removal” and the clock tower.
  • The sly reference to 12:01, the time loop movie from the ’90s
  • Tree’s lip tremble when she sees her mom is a great tiny bit of acting.
  • Oh mylanta! It’s a montage!
  • The skydiving scene was classic.
  • The eyeroll during the peeing scene
  • There are a lot of noticeable Back to the Future-like musical stings

One comment

  1. In case anyone was wondering… yes, they are finishing the trilogy. Early buzz says ‘Happy death day to us’ will be a crossover with spin-off ‘Freaky’ (at least according to the cast listing)

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