Tree Gelbman (Rothe) is your typical sorority “meangirl”, her and her fellow “plastics” have no time for anyone who doesn’t adhere to their superficial outlook on life. After a wild night out on the eve of her Birthday, Tree wakes up in a dorm-room having just spent the night with nerdy college boy Carter (Israel Broussard). Feeling worst for wear and embarrassed by a night she can barely remember, Tree leaves Carter’s room and heads back to her sorority house where her bitchy friend Danielle (Rachel Matthews) and judgemental roommate Lori (Ruby Modine) demand to know where she’s been.
Later that day, when out celebrating her birthday, Tree is cornered and brutally murdered by a mysterious figure wearing a creepy Halloween mask. The next day, the young woman wakes up in the same dorm-room she found herself the day before, and to her horror, starts to realise that she is reliving the same day over and over again. In the hope of putting an end to the curse, Tree must find who killed her and make sure she survives the night and live to see another day.
Landon and writer Scott Lobdell offer a mixture of hilarious and some not so well judged gags, but on the whole the duo are able to bring a story which more than borrows from the films it pays homage to. With a genuinely impressive cast list, Happy Death Day manages to be the closest thing to a decent horror movie we’ve had for a while. With a faultless comic-timing and a beautifully nuanced delivery, Jessica Rothe is certainly one to watch. Her ability to express complete horror one minute, and utter boredom or disdain the next, is truly impressive.
While Happy Death Day isn’t perfect by a long shot, the film definitely does a great job in making its audience hanker for all those ‘90s slashers nobody seems to be interested in making nowadays. The Jump-scares might be a little overdone and the least said about the less than subtle reference to a certain movie, the better. Having said that, the film is more than likely to capture the audience’s imagination just in time for Halloween, especially after a summer of disappointing blockbusters.
Happy Death Day is released on October 20th.