Happy Death Day

 

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Tree Gelbman keeps on getting killed on her birthday. Hasn’t she seen Groundhog Day?

 

Happy Death Day

Wakey, wakey: Jessica Rothe remembers the night before
  

“You’ve never seen Groundhog Day? How can you sleep with yourself?” asks one character in this enjoyably meta-horror film. In perhaps a vintage year for horror (cf. Get Out, Raw), this Edge of Tomorrow reboot brings a lot of playfulness to a genre not known for loud guffaws.

 

Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) is our protagonist, a spoiled, selfish and thoroughly arrogant bee-itch who wakes up with a sore head after a night out on the tiles. She’s in the dorm room of Carter Davis (Israel Broussard, a Zach Galligan/Andrew Garfield combo), who helped her through her worst excesses of the previous night. Not that she’s too grateful – she’s horrified – and so she goes about her day making everybody feel worse until she’s murdered by somebody in a Boss Baby mask. Then she wakes up in Carter’s dorm room…

 

The film is worked from a brilliant script by the comic book writer Scott Lobdell (Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men), but is not entirely equal to the task. No way does Jessica Rothe (a Heather Locklear/Rachel McAdams fusion) look young enough to be in college (she’s actually 30) and nobody in the cast is given an opportunity to play a real character (Jason Bayle, as Tree’s father, is embarrassing). Still, as a genre piece, the film is both fun and strangely endearing and should please horror fans, although it could have done with a bit more grisly invention. If James Wan had been brought in for a rewrite, this could’ve been a classic.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Rachel Matthews, Charles Aitken, Rob Mello, Phi Vu, Caleb Spillyards, Jason Bayle.

 

Dir Christopher B. Landon, Pro Jason Blum, Screenplay Scott Lobdell, Ph Toby Oliver, Pro Des Cece Destefano, Ed Gregory Plotkin, Music Bear McCreary, Costumes Meagan McLaughlin.

 

Blumhouse Productions-Universal Pictures.

96 mins. USA. 2017. Rel: 20 October 2017. Cert. 15.