Another day, another sequel. Or in this case, another day lived over and over again a la Groundhog day, or a la everyone’s life during COVID. And of course, the Babyface Killer is back (quick aside: what a stupid moniker, as a babyface is someone who looks young, or in pro wrestling parlance, is a good guy).
Happy Death Day 2U is the still snappy 2019 sequel to Happy Death Day, and it expands the victim pool from only poor Tree from the first film, to a small forest. We get principles from the first Happy Death Day, now also having to go through what our poor protagonist suffered through – endless nightmares and being chased around campus. That means Asian stoner and first flick also-ran Ryan waking up from a nap in his ride, over and over and over again and walking in on Tree / Theresa and Carter. And there’s no way out for this dude, stuck inside a kind of Samuel Beckett play.
Ryan is an engineering student who’s built a ball, that’s not unlike the giant orb that interfaces with the extra dimension in Stuart Gordon’s From Beyond. And this engineering project, which is more metaphysical than physics, is what put everyone in different dimension, and susceptible to the time-suspending killer in a plastic mask terrorizing fictional Bayfield University.
How will Ryan and company escape both the killer and the time loop? That’s what this imaginative sequel lays out, fueled again by the effortless charm of the three leads, particularly Jessica Rothe.
There are callbacks to the poisoned cupcake, and without spoiling it, there are different character arcs to keep the audience guessing.
Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 this ain’t.
Kudos to director Christopher Landon for expanding his vision from the first one, though the sassier/funnier tone may not sit well with some horror heads who might’ve wanted the gore ante upped.
*** (out of 5)