It’s only been a little over a year since Happy Death Day hit theaters and Blumhouse Productions already has a sequel not only in the works, but shot, packaged and hitting theaters just in time for Valentine’s Day. This time around, the sequel has a more specific premise and goes in a totally different direction tonally than the first film.
Look, in particular Happy Death Day 2U is a sequel to Happy Death Day, but it’s probably not the movie you think it is, especially if you’ve seen the trailers. Both Jason Blum and director Christopher Landon have spoken out prior to the release of the film about how “bonkers” the movie is, and it’s no surprise to me that mileage might vary with the movie (as plenty of critical reactions have shown.)
Over at CinemaBlend, it’s been no exception. Some of us think Happy Death Day 2U is the bee’s knees, some of us didn’t really get it and some of us liked it well enough but appreciated it trying hard to do something different. This is exactly the sort of movie that makes a roundup like this valuable. It can be really difficult to see a star rating for a movie like Happy Death Day 2U and know whether or not it will be worth your time. So, especially if you are on the fence about shelling out money to see this one on a very big screen, check out what we had to say about the new release.
First up is Mike Reyes, who wrote the official – and might I add glowing – review for Happy Death Day 2U. He said:
Happy Death Day was a novel original feature the did the groundwork for something truly exciting in Happy Death Day 2U. With a cast that’s as game as Christopher Landon's script and direction are to really bring out the bonkers, all involved have not only stepped up their game with the sequel, they’ve set a pretty high bar to clear for any potential follow-ups. The movie is fun with a capital “F-U,” as it plays with your expectations to not only get a bigger reaction than the first film, but to show off the full extent of the premise's possibilities. This is a movie you need to see with an audience, simply because the reactions are as golden as what happens on screen.
If you want more glowing recommendations, look no further than our own Eric Eisenberg, who has plenty to say about the movie and how it compares as a follow-up to 2017's Happy Death Day. Per Eric:
In a year that was already peppered with fantastic horror movies, Happy Death Day was a real surprise when it was released in 2017, and it’s a wonderful thing that writer/director Christopher Landon has had the opportunity to explore his vision for a sequel. Happy Death Day 2U is most definitely a change-up that fans should be prepared for – with a genre switch that makes the material more sci-fi and comedy heavy than a Groundhog Day-type slasher story – but it’s a worthy follow-up that’s impressively clever, super funny, and has legitimate heart.
Then there’s the slightly less enthusiastic take on Happy Death Day 2U from our own Mack Rawden, who nonetheless still feels like he was able to engage with and stay involved in the wild things happening on the screen in front of him.
Happy Death Day 2U is a weird movie that only gets weirder as it moves along. I'm still not entirely sure if it's a horror movie or a comedy or a dramedy about a science experiment or all of the above, but you certainly won't see anything else like it this year. I'm not entirely sure I would say I had a great time, but I remained interested, which is more than I can say for a healthy percentage of movies. So, if you like the unusual, go for it. If you're looking for a paint-by-numbers horror movie, this certainly isn't it.
Cody Beck said he was also a little bit confused about how this movie ended up panning out as a story, but he had a fun enough time and was at least happy he checked the final product out. Plus, he hopes it makes enough money to continue the franchise into a third movie sometime down the line, which is something Christopher Landon has already expressed interest in doing and has ideas about.
Happy Death Day 2U is a bloody fun sequel, but the leap from horror to sci-fi leaves a little to be desired. Compared to the first film, many of the slasher-film elements that made me love Happy Death Day are put on the backburner in lieu of adding too much exposition. I'd still recommend checking it out and really hope that Landon is able to wrap up his trilogy.
Personally, I think the movie is neither as funny nor as scary as the first movie, but still earns a merit badge for being unlike any other movie I will likely see this year. Or as I put it…
This movie is utterly and completely bonkers. You won’t see anything like it elsewhere this year and you also probably won’t see a sequel that tries for something quite so different from the original movie elsewhere either. Despite a few scenes that miss for me, I love how Happy Death Day 2U doesn’t fall into the usual sequel trap. See it and judge for yourself.
I may be biased, but if you take anything from CinemaBlend’s roundup, it should be the “see it and judge for yourself” part. You can catch Happy Death Day 2U in theaters starting today and all through this Valentine’s Day weekend. I’d say it’s counter programming to Isn’t It Romantic, but we all know that was also created as cheeky comedy counter programming to the usual Valentine’s Day rom-com releases. We’ll get in a time loop if we keep talking about this, so just look over the movie schedule to see what’s out.