While not as fun as the first movie, Happy Death Day 2U takes the series in an interesting direction and still features the excellent Jessica Rothe.
Plot: Tree (Jessica Rothe) finds herself re-living the same day over and over, albeit this time in a parallel universe.
Review: I’m always skeptical when movies like Happy Death Day get a sequel. A film about an endless time loop – how is there a sequel to this? Is it just going to be an infinite time loop again? How boring.
Well, the answer is yes – and no. I was pleased to see the filmmakers for this sequel thread the needle and give you what you hoped to get – and a little more. They cleverly didn’t explain the time loop in the first film, so this one felt completely different, even though it wasn’t. The parallel dimension angle will surely throw some people for a loop (pun intended), but honestly, they couldn’t go in any other direction.
What I didn’t like was, in the first film, finding the killer didn’t just serve the plot of ending the movie – it solved the problem the movie presented simultaneously. It created urgency to find Tree’s killer before it was too late. In the sequel, the killer is secondary – it’s all about figuring out how to end the time loop and sending Tree back to where she came from. I get it, but the killer subplot felt more like a throw-in than something essential to solve. So, in that aspect, I thought the first film was superior.
Jessica Rothe’s presence helps a lot, though. She’s allowed to flex her acting muscles more in this one, and the story between her and her mom felt genuine instead of sappy. Ruby Modine is given more to do and feels more like a complete character. Phi Vu does a credible job as the sudden lynchpin for the storyline after playing a minor role in the first film. The real standout, though, is Rachel Matthews as Danielle. She turned an amusing side character into a main attraction, and her hilarious blind routine with Dean Bronson was the movie’s highlight. I hope she gets more screen time if there’s another film in the series.
As for the other stuff, the cinematography, the soundtrack, etc., it’s roughly the same as the first film. I think the people behind this film realize where their bread is buttered, and they mostly just stay out of the way and let the characters unfold the story on the screen. While some people would want tricks and gimmicks, I applaud them for doing a straightforward job. A memorable soundtrack would be nice, though.
Anyhow, I recommend this movie, especially if you enjoyed the first one. The science-fiction elements may confuse, and the killer subplot feels obligatory instead of necessary, but they do a yeoman’s job of coming up with something new for the sequel. If you ever wanted to see Jessica Rothe skydiving without a parachute in a bikini, this movie is definitely for you.