Christopher Landon unveiled a brilliant way of fusing together the Groundhog Day effect with a thrilling murder mystery in 2017’s Happy Death Day. The film was irrefutably entertaining and wildly original making it a hit with both critics and audiences alike. But how could Landon possibly follow up his film without having it feel like a cheap imitation of a once novel idea? The answer can be found in Happy Death Day 2U, a bold and daring sequel that takes its audience down an unexpected path and brandishes itself as a fascinating blend of murder, sci-fi and comedy throughout a compelling hundred-minute ride.
After reliving the same torturous day over and over again until she finds her secret killer, Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) passes the curse onto her boyfriend’s roommate, Ryan (Phi Vu), who quickly finds himself in a deathly time loop of his own. Desperate to figure out why this is happening and, more importantly, how to close the loop, Tree is thrust into a mind-bending world of parallel universes and alternate realities all while facing another new killer.
Happy Death Day 2U keeps a fresh sense of uniqueness by changing the script and turning this sequel into a Back to the Future meets the horror-genre mash-up. And while its sci-fi elements are certainly clever and function as a gateway into countless new ideas for the franchise, it would be disingenuous to avoiding highlighting the elephant in the room. Those seeking a truly bloody and scare-filled horror sequel will walk away utterly disappointed. It feels as though Landon’s follow-up feature includes a new “whodunit” murder mystery out of obligation, failing to pay this subplot the attention it deserves and, instead, transforms the film into an otherwise interesting sci-fi comedy. As a result, Jessica Rothe’s character is given a substantially larger platform, and this widened lens dives deep into her psyche which helps raise the emotional stakes. The young actress embraces the opportunity with a smooth delivery that helps sustain this shockingly effective sequel. Happy Death Day 2U may not be the film you’re expecting to see, but it’s another remarkably worthwhile effort from Christopher Landon that expands on its original story with an innovative twist that rivals its predecessor’s creativity. So just sit back, relax, and enjoy.