Movie Review: HAPPY DEATH DAY
I didn’t much care for Scott Lobdell’s comic book work. He’s best known for the “Onslaught” storyline, which ranks right up there with the Amazing Spider-Man clone fiasco in comics infamy. Lobdell wrote the screenplay for HAPPY DEATH DAY, though, and knocked it out of the park. Is the script here good enough to redeem him for creating Onslaught? Actually, yes. It’s terrific. It’s a murder mystery, it’s funny, it’s scary, and the characters are distinct and properly depicted. Particularly notable is the fact that the protagonist, Tree, has to begin the film a dislikeable bitch, yet by the end the audience has to love her. That’s not easy to pull off, but Lobdell achieves it just fine.
You have to have an actress capable of carrying such a role, of course, and Jessica Rothe proves more than capable. She carries the entire movie, in fact. The lady’s got the chops, that’s for sure. She could be the next great Scream Queen if she so chooses. The acting throughout is solid, and director Christopher B. Landon displays a deft hand upon the steering wheel. The movie is a blast. I only this past weekend got the chance to go to the theater, and I made it a point to see THOR RAGNAROK first. But HAPPY DEATH DAY has been on my list since it came out, and I’m glad I made the return trip to see it.
Extra props to Lobdell for including a reference to GROUNDHOG DAY, which was the movie’s obvious influence.
As for why I’m reviewing the movie here and not on our sister site, darkness.com, there IS a vampiric element to the plot, albeit an inverted one. Each time the protagonist is murdered and returns to live the event over again, she is weaker than before. It’s vampirism in reverse, minus the blood-drinking. A really cool concept.