Happy Death Day 2U is the awfully titled sequel to the first Happy Death Day and picks up pretty much right where that one left off. Despite our lead Tree (Jessica Rothe) having broke her Groundhog Day-esque time loop, a science experiment gone wrong restarts the loop, and throws her into a parallel time line.
The first Happy Death Day was a surprisingly good movie that I didn’t catch when it first came out. It had a perfect blend of horror with comedy that used the time loop element as a fun story element. This sequel disrupts that perfect balance in favor of much more comedy, and it doesn’t work nearly as well. The scares are gone almost entirely, replaced by mostly bad jokes and cheesy slow motion effects. The death scenes to reset the day are still creative and fun but are starting to feel like a gimmick more than anything at this point. Besides Jessica Rothe the acting in this one also gets a little rough at times.
Happy Death Day 2U tries really hard to have an emotional impact on the audience as the main character struggles with the death of her mother. The biggest issue with it is that impact is undercut by the cheesy humor and over-complicated story. If the movie had kept the balance of the first, or even leaned into the horror a little more, those emotional moments would have served the overall movie a lot more effectively.
Overall, Happy Death Day 2U tried to do something different than the first, but ended up changing the elements that worked best. The story gets way too wrapped up in itself and hard to follow, with no good horror to keep you entertained. I won’t say you won’t have some fun, but I won’t recommend it either.
Happy Death Day 2U Rating: Misdemeanor
(Ratings from low to high: Felony, Misdemeanor, 10-4, Positive ROP, Golden Donut)