Happy Death Day 2U fortunately wasn’t the death of me


Srinithi Raj, Staff Writer

In Christopher Landon’s Happy Death Day 2U, sorority queen Tree Gelbman makes a comeback in the sequel to her first adventure, Happy Death Day. Although Landon’s sequel effectively maintains the same plot and characters while remaining a novel story, there were still some major plot holes and convolutions that prevented the sequel from rising to the standard of its predecessor. 

The film was both written and directed by Landon and produced by Jason Blum. With a budget of nine million dollars, the movie had good visuals and made effective use of color and sound. Some of my personal favorites were the 2-3 jump-scares the movie had, and also how the movie creatively integrated familiar songs, such as Lizzo’s “Stayin’ Alive” and Paramore’s “Hard Times” in place of dialogue. As for costuming, the characters were dressed appropriately for the laid-back campus setting.

Throughout HDD2U, Tree, her boyfriend, and a science geek named Ryan remain the focuses of the film. The main character, Tree, was played by Jessica Rothe, her role nothing short of impressive. Her boyfriend, Carter, was played by Israel Broussard. Phi Vu played Carter’s brainy friend. The acting of these three, in general, was quite good and added immensely to the storyline. Not only did the trio make the story more interesting and believable, but I could also find myself empathizing with, and relating to, their characters.  


Created by Srinithi Raj
Daily grossing of “Happy Death Day 2U,” according to Box Office Mojo

At the beginning of HDD2U, Tree gave a brief synopsis of the plot of the first film shortly into the sequel, which proved to be sufficient information to understand the second movie. The first Happy Death Day film focused on Tree’s repetitive dying and reliving of her birthday until she could find the person who kept trying to kill her, finally wrapping up her adventure when Tree finally figured out that it was her roommate responsible for the incessant murders.

While Tree continued normally with her life once again, HDD2U posed another threat to her when a classmate of hers, Ryan, designed a machine that slows time and transports an individual to multiple dimensions. When Ryan opened one of these time loops while testing his design, he sent Tree back into a dimension in which she still kept dying, as she had not yet discovered the person who continued to kill her. 

In general, I enjoyed the acting, visuals, and and the premise of the storyline of the new movie, but I also couldn’t help but notice the major differences between the first and second installments.

In general, the first film set a much more serious mood and fit well under the horror genre. The plot heavily focused on Tree’s deaths rather than the side stories of other characters, which the new movie incorporated to provide comedic relief. Yet, the addition of such characters tended to steer too much away focus from the main issue of the story, Tree dying repetitively because of the time loop, overpowering the horror aspect of the film. 

Additionally, another element of the new story that convoluted the entirety of the plot was the excessive use of sci-fi. One of the main reasons why it did not work as well as it could have was primarily because the previous movie conveyed ideas in a much simpler manner; anyone could have understood it. The advanced sci-fi of this film, such as the usage of quantum physics and the idea of slowing time, made it hard for me to fully wrap my head around this plot point, and I felt that it took away from my understanding of the main story.

A final issue I had with the new plot was the fact that character development, especially with Tree, seemed illogical. Some of the most important choices Tree made in the newest movie completely contradict the basis upon which her original character was built. With overly-emotional speeches coming from a character like her, it was honestly difficult to believe and laughable. The franchise tried to force more depth into a story that just didn’t work for me.

Overall, Happy Death Day 2U didn’t quite meet my expectations after watching its predecessor. Not only did the over-complexity and heavy focus placed upon the science aspect shadow the central conflict of the film, but the movie also had a handful of ill-crafted elements that made it a lackluster comedy rather than true horror. Despite the fact that the newest installment was definitely somewhat of a let-down, the acting of the cast members was one of the only commendable aspects of the film.