There is such a reduced focus on the horror, that the weak sci-fi plug-in simply cannot fill the gap

To suggest that the sequel to 2017’s Happy Death Day, aptly named Happy Death Day 2U, comes even close to the bizarre likeability of the first film would be a bare-faced lie. The journey from mild horror-slasher to teen sci-fi has not been kind to the franchise, as instead of strobe-like flashing of its jump-scares and horror tropes, Happy Death Day 2U chooses bonkers scientific jargon and a story made of absolute nonsense.

Believing she has escaped the never ending repeat of her death day, Tree (Jessica Rothe) once again wakes up on her birthday after her murder the night before. Falling into exactly the same routine she suffered from in the first film, Tree discovers that this time she is trapped in a parallel universe; a universe where her mother is still alive, and her boyfriend is no longer hers. Stuck picking between the two, Tree must find a way back to her own world, before deciding whether she actually wants to return or not.

Happy Death Day 2U 2

Massively let down by its script, Happy Death Day 2U never escapes its own pitfalls, struggling over its nonsensical language and plot line that is both overly-complicated and completely unrealistic. The first film was on the more ridiculous side of the scale, but this tries to bring the franchise to some sort of explainable realism. It was better off stuck in the realms of unexplainable fun.

Part of the issue comes from the inability to really push the series on, with the performances, directing and production design remaining so similar to the original. In essence, the brilliant recreation of the repeating day leaves scrutiny to fall on the few new elements, almost all of which fail to supply any fresh interest. There is such a reduced focus on the horror, that the weak sci-fi plug-in simply cannot fill the gap.

Ending up resembling a hole-ridden plaster-cast figure of Marty McFly painted like Michael Myers (from any film released between 1995 and 2009), Happy Death Day 2U feels like a failed experiment that made it into the final methodology. It doesn’t destroy the fun from the first film, but it puts any future sequels at risk of falling even further from the ideas that made the original quite so exciting.


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