The time warp continues, but on a whole other level
The thing that makes “Happy Death Day 2U” such a worthy sequel is its ability to take risks. I just talked to a buddy of mine about how it sort of transcends from one genre to another, and manages to break the rules of a horror sequel.
The first “Happy Death Day,” if you recall, involves Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) being trapped in a “Scream” meets “Groundhog Day” time warp, while facing a killer in a baby mask. She managed to break the loop by killing her murderer Lori (Ruby Modine), but just as she’s kissing her now boyfriend Carter (Israel Broussard), his roommate Ryan (Phi Vu) is now trapped in his own time warp, facing the same Baby Mask killer.
The reason is because Ryan and his lab partners, Samar (Suraj Sharma from “Life of Pi”) and Dre (Sarah Yarkin) have developed a device for their project, which hopes to slow down time. Apparently, it made life difficult for Tree and Ryan. You Think?!!!!!
When they try to set the device straight, Ryan causes an accident, and sends Tree back to the same day she was murdered-her birthday. Except, there’s one difference: she’s in a parallel universe, where Lori isn’t the murderer, Carter is dating a nicer version of her rival Danielle (Rachel Matthews), and her mother (Missy Yager from “Manchester by the Sea”) is still alive.
Now, she must decide on which dimension she wants to stay in, unaware of some side effects. But that’s only half her worries, now she has to keep killing herself in order to break the time loop.
“Happy Death Day 2U” has an annoying subplot, involving the school dean (Steve Zissis) taking away the device, because of the rolling blackouts it causes. I’m not sure we needed that, but what I am sure of it how better of a sequel it is.
I commend it for taking a lot of risks and decisions. At times, we do see the same scenes with some of the same tricks, but the way the filmmakers (writer/director Christopher Landon and producer James Blum) handle them are just flexible.
It even continues to give Tree a tiresome plan to save everyone by giving her a multiverse plot (“Do I look like I know what a multiverse theory is?!,” she says). Rothe is charming, once more, as her, and I like the way it gives her decisions and life lessons, without feeling so generic or routine. And the jokes are funnier than the first, in my fair opinion.
It’s a time warp for everyone, and yet, we’re just having fun with it.