'Happy Death Day' likable light horror
In 1993, there was a movie called Groundhog Day. It starred Bill Murray and was directed by Harold Ramis. It was about a weatherman who gets stuck repeating the same day over and over, waking up to the same song as the day restarts. Since then, a number of movies have adapted the classic's premise for their own stories. They are the movies we refer to as "It's like Groundhog Day, but ...".
This year saw the release of Before I Fall, which applied the format to a high-school melodrama, and 2014's Edge of Tomorrow borrowed the idea for a sci-fi backdrop.
This time, the day goes on repeat for a young girl named Theresa (Tree for short), except she doesn't just fall asleep and wake up in the next day.
She has to die first.
Happy Death Day takes that plot device that worked so well over 20 years ago and puts it in the middle of a slasher film. Whenever the day repeats, it's like looking at the beginning of a different horror movie each time. That makes for some very fun moments, as Tree tries to figure out who's been killing her.
As these movies go, Tree is a very unlikable protagonist when the film starts. It's what makes it so satisfying to watch her die over and over. While the first 20 or so minutes of the film are a little more than tedious, it's the price you pay for a film that really picks up in the second half. After the legwork is put in, Happy Death Day becomes a fun, mildly scary, horror movie.
It's a PG-13 horror movie with an intriguing premise, hardly any blood and gore, and only runs for about an hour and a half. It's the perfect film to see if you want a fun movie this Halloween that won't give you nightmares. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and highly recommend seeing it in a dark cinema, with lots of people in it.
Rating: Big Screen Watch.