HAPPY DEATH DAY Family Movie Review2 min read

By Daren Smith


A young woman must relive the same day over and over until she figures out who keeps murdering her. Think of it as the horror Groundhog Day. Pre-order it here.

IS IT ANY GOOD? (Grade: C+)

Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) wakes up on her birthday to the sound of her father calling her cell phone. Confused, she gets startled by Carter Davis (Israel Broussard), with whom she apparently spent the night.

The day goes on like any other normal day, until a man in a baby mask murders Tree on her way to a party. She wakes up in the same bed, with the same confusion, to the same Carter, on the same day.

Only after a few days does she discover that her death at the end of the day is the reset button. She spends the next few repeats exploring her newfound immortality, as it were, until she realizes that the various stabbings and other forms of dying are taking their toll on her physically.


Together with Carter she sets out to find out who is killing her and if she’s doomed to repeat this cycle forever. Happy Death Day features a strong lead performance from Jessica Rothe, a healthy dose of dark humor, and some directorial creativity, but this plot device has been done before, and better, in films like Groundhog Day and Edge of Tomorrow. Some of the dialogue is weak, as are some of the supporting performances, but fans of scary movies will find something to enjoy here.


The film deals heavily with death and is a straight-up horror movie. For kids in their mid-to-late teens, there’s nothing too gory or too grotesque for them, but I’d be hesitant to send a 13 or 14-year old to the movie. There are multiple murders by stabbing and shooting. There are many instances of terror and horror and suspense. There are a number of swear words and one f-word. A young woman walks naked through a college campus; we see her backside. It is implied that a young woman is having an affair with her professor.


There are consequences for our actions. We need to let go of mistakes in order to progress. We are responsible for our own destiny. Free will and friendship are recurring themes here.

Another great movie that features a fight against a serial killer is Unbreakable. Rent or buy it here

Daren Smith is a film producer and screenwriter living in Provo, UT. He is the co-founder of Telekinesis Media and blogs semi-regularly at darentsmith.com

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