Family Review: HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U is a Silly, Spooky Sequel

By Trina Boice

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?     

Happy Death Day 2U is a quasi-horror flick that is a sequel to the popular 2017 Happy Death Day movie where a time loop wreaks havoc on college students.  Some are saying that this sequel is even better than the original movie, calling it a sci-fi/slasher comedy mash-up. Personally, I think I liked the originality of the first one better.  What this one has more of us heart and some moral lessons that will give you the feels.

It helps to have seen the first movie. If you haven’t, you won’t quite appreciate some of the moments and backstories, but there is a quick recap scene to get you mostly up to speed in the beginning.

IS IT ANY GOOD?  (B-)

Director Christopher Landon gives us a goofy, dark comedy version of Groundhog Day. And yes, there WILL be a third movie in this franchise.  Landon announced it the minute this sequel was finished with production.  Keep watching after the end credits for a sneak peek at the next movie.

While the first Happy Death Day followed a similar plot as Groundhog DayBack to the Future Part II was the inspiration for this particular story with a few, fun Easter eggs. For example, there is a wood chipper with a sign that reads, “Biff’s Tree Removal” on it, referencing “Biff” from the Back to the Future franchise.  If you enjoyed the idea of other dimensions in Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, you’ll get a kick out of this version of the multiverse explanation.  I liked that we didn’t have to watch scenes from the first movie over and over again because they were able to create some new ones that took the story off in another direction.

Jessica Rothe is the leading lady and was fantastic in both films.  One of my complaints about the first movie was that her character was so unpleasant and raunchy.  She’s much softer in this sequel, but tough when she needs to be and she shows great versatility in emotions.  They did a great job casting Missy Yager as Jessica Rothe’s mom.  They really do look like mother and daughter. All of the regular characters from the first movie are present, along with a couple of new ones.  Many of the side characters have much more to do in this film than in the original.  I especially like Phi Vu as Ryan, and would have liked to see more moments with him.

Unfortunately, some of the choices in the last 20 minutes are just ridiculous and make the movie feel more like a cliched slapstick.  The romance seems to have way more weight than it should, considering the two involved have only know each other for a couple of days. The movie probably should have ended sooner to be better to have more impact.  Also, the killer feels like a side note.  It’s not really a horror or slasher movie in the traditional sense.

IS IT OKAY FOR YOUR KIDS?    (PG-13)

  • Two people “flip the bird”
  • Body count = 20 death scenes
  • Some profanity, crude words, plus 1 F-bomb
  • A college girl with tons of cleavage.
  • Many suicide attempts
  • It’s definitely not as scary as the first movie.
  • Talk of porn and homosexuality.

ANY WORTHWHILE MESSAGES?       

Yes!  There are some really great lines in the movie, mostly towards the end, that talk about choices and consequences.  

  • “Every day is a chance to be someone better.” – Tree (Jessica Rothe)
  • “We all have to make hard choices.  That’s life.” – Julie Gelbman (Missy Yager)
  • “Sometimes the past is calling us in one direction and the future is calling us somewhere new.” – Julie Gelbman
  • “Take a chance.  Follow your heart.” -Julie Gelbman
  • “People say, ‘I love you’ all the time, but it’s not until you can’t say it to their face anymore that you realize you really mean it.” – Tree’
  • “The best kind of love does that…it changes you.” – Julie Gelbman
  • “That pain, that loss is what makes you, you.” – Carter (Israel Broussard)
  • “I can’t spend my life living in the past.  I have to take a leap of faith.” – Tree (Jessica Rothe)

Trina Boice is an author of 23 books and teaches online for BYU-Idaho in the Pathway program.  She received the Young Mother of the Year honor in 2004, an award that completely amuses her 4 sons. She’s a popular international speaker in China and writes movie reviews at www.MovieReviewMom.com. You can find her books on Amazon, and at www.TrinasBooks.com

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