Happy Death Day 2U

 

 

            It's advertised as a horror film, but it's PG-13, so the gore is minimal, and it's not really so much about the masked slasher, anyway.  He just adds another element of urgency to the need to solve the problem, which is really about....

            Quantum physics.   OK, no doubt the real mathematics geniuses out there would be doing the fact checks and scoffing at the pseudo-science, but for the sake of a movie plot, it's clear enough: a team of nerdy college students have somehow managed to create a machine that is capable of warping time.  The problem is, they can get it to work, sometimes, but they can't control it, so right now it just loops around like....

            Groundhog Day.  Yes, that classic Bill Murray movie where he wakes up every morning to the same day.  Even when he tries to kill himself, he still wakes up the next morning to the same day.  This movie borrows that concept (as they did in the original; this is the sequel), but the twist is that it can happen to different people who happen to be in close proximity to the crude-looking helix machine, which also becomes the object of....

            Slapstick humor.  Yes, the comically hapless Dean of the Science Department storms in the lab to complain about the students messing with the electricity, and threatens to take away their toy if they don't stop.  This devolves into a comedy routine of his trying to literally pull the plug, and the students are attempting to physically prevent him, or else distract him with some....

            Bad acting.  Yes, one of the students acts, badly, like a blind French girl, needing help from the nerdy professor, but managing to bash him with her cane instead.  But he's not the only one who gets bashed.  It seems that the actual slasher (remember him?) is caught in a sleazy....

            Love triangle.  Even our primary characters, Tree (Jessica Rothe) and Carter (Israel Broussard) also find themselves with someone else coming between them, but it's not their fault, see, because of the time warp thing, which winds up leaving Tree with a really weird decision, testing the depth of her...

            Mother love.  It seems that in one “alternate universe,” Mom has died, but in another “alt realm,” Mom's alive, but the romance with the boyfriend is non-existent.  So Tree has to choose between her Mother and her boyfriend?  And that's only if she can go...

            Back to the Future.  Yes, like that classic movie, as well, playing with time travel enough to make it non-sensical.  Don't try to understand it, just go with it, and at the end you'll see Tree....

            Wielding an axe.  And a sledge hammer.  And a gun.  But weapons don't really bother her, because she's used to death, she experiences it again every day.  What annoys her is having to memorize all the complicated formulas of the science nerds, because she's experiencing a sequence of days and they're not.  So take that, “Big Bang Theory,” the cute chicks can be brainiacs as well.  But just to make sure we're dealing with adolescents, we still have couples making out on a bench, eating stale churros, searching for lost mouth guards, and missing sorority meetings in order to.....

            Save the world.  Or at least their little piece of it. Yes, it's a little bit creepy and somewhat silly and at times downright cheesy, but it's fun because it's different, and isn't afraid to try on different modes in the same film.  Some work better than others, but at least they dare to be creative.

 

Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, DFW Film Critics Association