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Film review: Happy Death Day 2U

PUBLISHED: 10:19 20 February 2019

Jessica Rothe starring in Happy Death Day 2U  Picture: UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

Jessica Rothe starring in Happy Death Day 2U Picture: UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

Mark Goodin delves into the world of horror with his latest review.

Happy Death Day 2U follows the story of Tree who becomes trapped in a time loop   Picture: UNIVERSAL STUDIOSHappy Death Day 2U follows the story of Tree who becomes trapped in a time loop Picture: UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

Combining key elements from the central time-looping narrative of Ground Hog Day and the comic thrills of Scream, Happy Death Day - which saw university student Tree (Jessica Rothe) trying to solve her own murder – was one of 2017’s delights. While returning writer and director Christopher Landon adheres closely to the circular template of the first film, he fills his sequel with enough humour and blood-splattered chaos to keep things feeling fresh.

Picking up soon after the first film left off, Tree and fellow student Ryan (Phi Vu) discover that his quantum physics experiment may have been behind Tree’s entrapment in the time loop. When the machine is turned back on things take a drastic change for the worse.

Wearing his influences lovingly on his sleeve – Back to the Future 2 is a key one – Landon deftly balances the film’s mixture of humour and horror as Tree and her companions are forced to relive the same fateful day until they can close the loop, all the while injecting a palpable sense of pathos into the increasingly over-cranked proceedings. Tree’s decision to choose between the two people she cares for most has particular emotional heft.

However, like its predecessor it is far from perfect - Rachel Mathews’ returning sorority sister Danielle remains an intensely irritating presence and Steve Zissis’ uptight Dean Bronson feels like one joke too many; but this does not detract from the fact that Landon’s sequel is as fun and crowd-pleasing as the first.

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