Plot: Tree (Jessica Rothe) wakes up in a random dorm room after a wild night, unable to remember much of anything and in a desperate rush to get away from the dorky guy she apparently slept with. She stumbles back to her sorority house, then arrives late to class, almost gets caught by her married lover’s wife, and heads to a party, but on the way, she is murdered. This was quite an eventful day, especially for Tree since it was her birthday, but she is about to relive it all over again. She wakes up in the same bed, same dorm, then experiences all of the same things again, though she tries to avoid her death, only to be killed in a new fashion. She is not a stable person on her best day, so she flies off the deep end and spirals into an emotional meltdown, as she wakes up once again and things repeat themselves. Is she destined to relive her own death over and over again, or can she find a way to derail this time loop?
Entertainment Value: This movie seemed destined to be another by the numbers Blumhouse produced horror movie and at first, that seemed to be the case. But after Tree dies a few times, she throws caution to the wind and embraces her horrific situation, which provides some fresh, interesting scenes. This is a short piece of the movie, but it was a nice bright spot in an otherwise run of the mill flick. But once that ends, the movie decides to transform into a sappy, incredibly forced life affirmation experience, as sad as that sounds. A bloodless, scareless horror movie throughout, Happy Death Day just drops all pretense of horror and decides to try to serve as a motivational picture. Tree is a brat and perhaps a little trashbag-esque, but at least she is interesting before the movie shames her into changing her evil ways. I know this is aimed at teens, but come on, Lifetime movies have more edge than this. I have to give some credit for veering so far off brand and trying to be a self help program however, as it is so insane and comes out of left field. In the end, Happy Death Day has a dull first act, fun and fresh middle act, and ABC Family conclusion. If you want horror or sleaze, this never rises above a teen thriller. But if you just want to see a movie come unraveled and turn into a desperate social plea, by all means, give this a look.
No nakedness. This is teen horror from Blumhouse, so the closest we get are some bare shoulders. This is wholesome, gee golly entertainment that vilifies Tree for her more base impulses. I for one think Tree was just fine in the first place, if she wants to have fun and be a bitch, let the woman live her life, right? No blood. All of the violence that involves blood happens off screen, so we see a neck break and some clean gun shots, but all the juice is never showcased. As this is a Blumhouse production aimed at teen audiences, the lack of gore makes sense, especially given the morality play that unfolds in the finale. So from a horror perspective, no blood, no breasts, and no scares. The dialogue is mostly forgettable, but we do have some fun lines from the sorority sisters and of course, Tree. The girls are portrayed as basic stereotypes with no depth, which is kind of lame, but also leads to hilarious lines. Tree is a fountain of gold banter and Jessica Rothe brings her trashy side to life well. So some terrific and cruel mean girl type dialogue, but otherwise just milquetoast scripting. As for craziness, the middle section has some fun mayhem, but the real insanity is trying to shoehorn a self help program into a horror movie with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Just an iron fisted attempt to force a certain moral outlook on the audience, ballsy to be sure, but not fun to watch and in my opinion, not a good conclusion. Tree is also a super fun, over the top character, so she deserves a point as well.
Overall Insanity: 1/10