Film Review: “Happy Death Day 2U” (2019) ★★★

Normally, not every sequel succeeds at offering something decent, new, or creative to avoid repetition of the original storyline. The same fate, you might say, could await “Happy Death Day 2U” as well. However, not only does it not happen, it surprisingly takes a u-turn and switches everything upside down, leaving, I should admit, the viewers stuck in a strange time loop wondering what else the new generation of horror cinema has to offer.

Shortly after the event that took place in the first part, we find Theresa is still studying at the same University and dating Carter. Life is treating her good so far and nothing should disrupt her new reality nor her enjoyment after escaping death. However, her sweet life ceases to exist the moment when she finds herself reliving the same nightmare over and over again. And when she figures out the root cause, she is determined this time around to make everything right and stop keep dying for good. But the problem is, she has no idea how many obstacles await her – a surprise killer, twisted turns, a love that will get stronger, a friendship that’s worthwhile making, and the life she will realize could not be any better no matter what.

The film opens with the genius Ryan, who, on his way to the university begins getting a strange feeling after one accident occurs after another. After leaving his lab, minutes later he gets brutally killed, but to his surprise, he finds himself alive again, inside his car, and is about to repeat the same steps as before, before death knocks him down. It’s when he chooses to come up to Carter’s room where Theresa is recovering after a long night. As everything appears as a déjà vu, the man shares his strange feelings with Theresa and Carter. The young woman quickly realized that the entire situation appears to be similar to what she has recently experienced and tries to help Ryan to escape an unfortunate outcome.

Ryan, as we learn, works on an interesting project in which he wants to prove that time can be slowed down on a monocular level and is getting closer to prove that. However, after another attempt to survive an accident, things change for Theresa after realizing that the machine built by Ryan is the cause of all troubles. However, due to an accident, Theresa is stuck in a time loop in which there’s a mysterious killer that wants to claim Theresa’s life again.

Christopher Landon’s “Happy Death Day 2U” is a mix of Back to the Future that plays out really well in the context of horror told in Landon’s piece. It’s quite entertaining and sometimes, if not most of the times, an absolute fun to watch. Theresa is an exceptional character-rich, charismatic, indomitable and does not want to please people around her. However, as you watch her, she never hesitates to make something right about herself or become a better person, which is evident in this film.

As the entire film revolves around our female protagonist, Ryan (Phi Vu) is another cheerful character that’s worthy of admiration. Rubi Modine as Lori has seemingly already told us everything we needed to know about her, and in some cases, we did not feel bad for her when she died in the first part. But in the sequel, she is more positive, willing to jump under the train if required to save a friend’s life. And that’s the quality we always wanted to see in her, and with the new film, she does not disappoint.

Overall, “Happy Death Day 2U” is much better than the original one. Even though it retreats back to the original concept, the new narrative never feels old or tiresome. In fact, each time when you think you will be able to guess what will happen next, luckily that never happens, which helps the viewer to stay active and engaged throughout the film. Some scenes, of course, were so cool and dramatic, I wish I could have them replayed repeatedly. But as for the performances, the entire cast remains truthful to their part and deliver the best they can so you as a viewer will believe them. As for Jessica Rothe’s Theresa, this time the talented actress added more humanity to her character with compassion and empathy. Her smile got better, and we started liking her Theresa even more, thanks to Jessica Rothe’s interpretation, which was right on spot.

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