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MOVIE REVIEW: FTN reviews Happy Death Day

October 18th, 2017 by Andrew McCarroll Comments

Happy Death Day
Stars: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine
Rating: PG-13
Directed By: Christopher Landon

Blumhouse Productions have been quietly going around and causing something of a classical horror renaissance. Reinventing the haunted house genre with the box office juggernaut Paranormal Activity, creating their own cinematic universe with The Conjuring and Annabelle, offering the most thoughtful horror in years with Get Out and doing the impossible by making M. Night Shyamalan relevant again with the fantastic Unbreakable sequel Split. Happy Death Day seeks to subvert the genre the same way that Scream did 20 years ago (dear God, I’m old) by taking a classic horror trope and turning it on its head.

Here we have the classic horror staple, the beautiful blonde sorority girl being hunted by a masked killer. However, unlike Halloween’s Laurie Strode, our heroine is far from holier than thou. She sleeps with her married teacher, insults anyone within her radius and is basically Mean Girls’ Rachel McAdams finding out that on Wednesday we wear blood red. The film is a clever mix of Groundhog day and Scream with Jessica Rothe’s ‘Tree’ being killed in a number of inventive ways. Only to wake up and find she has to do it all over again until she discovers her killer’s identity.

Happy Death Day is a great addition to the genre and pushes the limit of its PG-13 rating, relying on clever setups and sharp one-liners as opposed to gore. The concept of its central premise doesn’t run out of steam at a tight 90 minutes and playfully messing with the audiences’ second-guessing of the more obvious horror clichés.

Rothe is fantastic as the arrogant, plastic version of Ebenezer Scrooge, who starts to realise the error of her ways while being brutally murdered night after night.

4 out of 5 nerds

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Andrew McCarroll never quite built on the dizzying career heights that he hit at 6 years old, when as a member of the “Ghostbusters” he would charge his neighbours to remove any unwanted spectres. Now retired from slaying spooks, he spends his time obsessing over superheroes (especially Batman) and devouring shows like Dexter, Game of Thrones and Archer in a manner that would make Galactus proud. You can follow his rants on twitter @andymc1983