Happy Death Day (2017)

*. Happy Death Day has been described, by pretty much everyone who has seen it, as Groundhog Day meets Scream. It’s not a comparison I think the producers of the film were shy of, as Groundhog Day even gets a plug in the final scene and the links were also made in the promotional material.
*. Now: once you’ve set that out as the premise, is there anything to add?
*. Well, I enjoyed it. It’s clever and kept me interested, though not so clever that I was ever that impressed by it. I had the killer pegged from the start and knew how the red herring business was going to play out. And I don’t say that as a brag. In fact, I’m usually pretty slow on the uptake when it comes to movies like this so I figure that if I knew what was going on then most people would. The killer revealed in the misjudged alternate (and original) ending would have been a more interesting false lead.
*. It’s not a movie that fires on all cylinders. The ending drags a bit. The romantic comedy elements were just OK. The transformation of the mean girl into a sweetie-pie was unnecessary (and unbelievable). I wish they’d left the father out entirely. Tree’s plans for dealing with her predicament all strike me as being pretty dumb, while avoiding the obvious steps she might have taken.
*. I don’t think it’s a scary movie but was impressed (in a good way) that there was no gore. Because it didn’t need it. Nice.
*. So it’s a generally unexceptional but fun flick. If you want to take a darker or more cynical view it’s representative of a late stage of genre filmmaking that has, at least since Scream (and some would say since the original Nightmare on Elm Street) been mainly interested in sending up its own clichés and conventions. But I wasn’t in that cynical a mood when I saw it so I had a good time.

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