REVIEW (X3): A parallel world to ‘HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U’


Happy Death Day 2U

Universal Pictures gave Latin Horror a chance to see ‘Happy Death Day 2U’ in theaters on both the east and west coasts. So Latin Horror decided to stay in the theme of the film by giving you three different Déjà vu’s of the same movie. And please feel free to give up your take in the comments section, as we always love to hear from our Latinhorrorphiles.

Enjoy Jennifer E. OrtegaEdwin Pagán, and Christian A. Morán‘s perspectives of the film after the jump.

Ladies first…

The Baby-face mascot is destined to kill again and again in Happy Death Day 2U (2019)

Jennifer E. Ortega:

Doppelgängers and parallel universes and more schtick, oh my! I was very interested in seeing what a sequel to 2017’s Bloody Groundhog’s Day aka ‘Happy Death Day’, would even look like. Well, ‘Happy Death Day 2U’ did it pretty successfully by tweaking the formula just enough. The sequel definitely adds more of a sci-fi element to it along with ampliflying the comedy. Director Christopher Landon brings us right into the plot in this fast-paced sequel. This time Carter’s (Israel Broussard) roommate Ryan (Phi Vu)  has been wreaking havoc in the science labs! His experiment ultimately places Tree (Jessica Rothe) in an alternate universe. While the scares are few in ‘Happy Death Day 2U’, the laughs are plentiful. Jessica Rothe once again proves her comedic chops. If you’re looking to be scared by the Babyface Killer, this time around you might be disappointed. In fact, most of the deaths are self-inflicted. Still, ‘Happy Death Day 2U’ is enjoyable, entertaining and really fun. It’s just not so much a horror movie. It’s more of a sci-fi romcom. Really, if there’s any one thing to be taken away from the film it is that college students are reckless with science experiments. Teen nerds are dangerous! I’m looking at you ‘Weird Science’, ‘War Games’, ‘Revenge of the Nerds’, ‘Zapped!’and now ‘Happy Death Day 2U’. 

Theresa “Tree” Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) in Happy Death Day 2U (2019) UNIVERSAL

Edwin Pagán:

Déjà vu and the desire to experience another time in history is a common one. But who would willingly want to go back in time and experience their own violent death…over and over again? If you’re not already an avid fan of Happy Death Day (2017), the basic premise is: Perky collegian caught in a Ground Hog Day-ish spin cycle must relive her tragic end until the mystery behind the “baby face” mask-wearing killer is solved.

At the risk of becoming irrelevant in the eyes of this new movie-going force, I hasten to admit that I have become thick-skinned to films about Millennials and avoid them like a plague. Perhaps because at 55 those kinds of films just don’t speak to me anymore. Yes, I have officially become one of “Them.” I must also admit that I did not see the first of these two films and experienced the sequel out of sequence. Or am I in the midst of a new death cycle and can’t remember having seen it? Hmm.

Our protagonist’s death cycles begin as Ryan Phan (Phi Vu) experiences a few back-to-back episodes of being murdered by the school’s masked mascot and quickly realizes what’s taking place. Storming into his dorm to seek a warm ear, he finds his roommate Carter Davis (Israel Broussard) in a heavy petting session with Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe). Not new to the death-defying game, Tree instantly recognizes the pattern and sets out to help Ryan. But as fate would have it, her good intentions backfire and the tables are turned against her and she soon finds herself doing another round of death dives. I won’t give away how it comes to pass, but let’s just chalked it up to weird science, bad math and a meddling dean. Since the plot conventions of this franchise are well established, there’s no need to spoil the maggots.

Happy Death Day 2U, to my dismay, however, is a highly entertaining movie that does well in executing 80’s-style suspense (my epoch) with the right amount of comedic moments, and moves like the wind. This vehicle isn’t afraid to change genre lanes (or troupes): horror, comedy, slasher, teen angst, sci-fi, and drama—and switches between them at will—albeit sometimes rather awkwardly like a musical where someone randomly breaks into song.

The movie had a few bits that pleasingly caught my attention: There is one apted scene in HDD2U that made the room rather dusty for me in a tender moment between Tree and her mother (Missy Yager), to the credit of Rothe’s acting chops. Then there is the clever nerdy tech wiz-kid approach that keeps the film from loosing its wheels, with Phi Vu fronting the Geek squad that continually takes on the task of helping Tree figure out the correct algorithm that will transport her to the proper alternate dimension before the clock resets each day, but not before she makes some critical choices about family, life, and love. And I couldn’t help but smile at the DeLorean wink to my demographic in the form of a Back to the Future poster in Carter’s dorm, and Happy Death Day 2U effectively borrows the tempo and tech-driven tension of that fore-bearer.

My only caveat is that I was left somewhat wanting a larger serving of straight frights as the killer-on-the-loose lost some of its edge in repetition, but I guess that would be the eventual banality of any merry-go-round: it’s not the same after the tenth spin. Still, another serving or two of top shelf goose bumps would have quelled this old timer’s thirst. Nevertheless, I can’t wait to catch up, in reverse, and see Happy Death Day, then go and experience Happy Death Day 2U again—this time with my 16-year old son and score some dad brownie points (I never said an old dog couldn’t learn new tricks).

The Blumhouse franchise library is rapidly growing exponentially to the delight of horror fans, so don’t forget to stick around for the cookie credit that teases out another possible chapter in this ongoing threaded content.

Déjà vu and the desire to experience another time in history is a common one. But who would willingly want to go back in time and experience their own violent death…over and over again? If you’re not already an avid fan of Happy Death Day (2017), the basic premise is: Perky collegian caught in a Ground Hog Day-ish spin cycle must relive her tragic end until the mystery behind the “baby face” mask-wearing killer is solved.  😉

The Baby-face mascot cant help killing Theresa in Happy Death Day 2U (2019) UNIVERSAL

Christian A. Morán:

Universal’s Happy Death Day 2U is a fun ride into the multiverse. In this installment of the popular slasher comedy film, Happy Death Day, we wake up with Ryan Phan (PHI VU, Pitch Perfect 2) with his own two consecutive loops. In his loop we learn that Ryan is the equivalent of Doc Brown from ‘Back to the Future’ as he has built a machine responsible for the Groundhog Day loops. He is also responsible for letting the audience know how time travel between the multiverse works. And Ryan does it with a folded napkin and pencil. In a crazy scenario of Ryan trying to kill his doppelganger, he sets up an event that changes the loops to multiverse traveling.

Ryan Phan meets Ryan Phan in Happy Death Day 2U (2019) UNIVERSAL

Now we are taken back to the original Happy Death Day, as Theresa “Tree” Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) wakes on her birthday again! But this time Theresa is in a universe different from hers. From here on out, we are taken on a crazy fun adventure that pays homage to “Back to the Future II” and “Inception.”

Theresa and Carter watch Ryan freaking out in Happy Death Day 2U (2019) UNIVERSAL

Happy Death Day 2U’s best part is watching actress, Jessica Rothe’s performance. The script challenges Theresa to make the toughest decision in her life about choosing between two types of love. And it is in those decision making moments that Jessica shines as an actress by making us cry with her, fall in love with her and cheer for the “crazy white woman”. Happy Death Day 2U is a sequeal worth watching, especially if you just want to have fun in the theaters. Don’t forget to find out what DARPA means. -Christian A. Morán

Happy Death Day 2U, AMC THEATER, NEW YORK, Photo by Christian A. Moran, 2/11/2019

Catch Happy Death Day 2U in theater on FEBRUARY 13th, 2019.






Christian A. Morán
Christian A. Morán has been working on feature films, shorts, music videos and in documentaries, for which he won an award in 2002 at the Aurora Film Festival. As a Production Manager and Senior Editor at Media Blasters Inc., he has worked on and revived numerous Cult and Horror titles such as Lucio Fulci's Zombie 2, Takashi Miike's Ichi the Killer and One Missed Call. He also worked on post-production for Fever Dreams' feature, "Shadow: Dead Riot", starring Tony Todd of Candyman and worked on "Death Trance" directed by Yuji Shimomura and starring Versus' Tak Sakaguchi. Christian has also worked on animated titles including Invader Zim, Berserk, Giant Robo, Samurai Deeper Kyo, 12 Kingdoms and Voltron: Defender of the Universe. He also produced and edited a promotion video for a branch of The United Nations called Alliance of Civilizations which featured President Barack Obama. Currently, he is working with legendary producer Roger Corman and Code Red DVD, who handle titles from MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer). At this time he is producing and directing his own films such as Silentious (2013), Flawed God (2014), Halloween Treat (2014) and the award winning film, Let's Play Dead Girl (2015).

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