Director and co-writer Christopher Landon’s “Happy Death Day” seemed like an odd concept in 2017: a college student who is trapped in a time loop trying to outwit her killer but turned out to be a sleeper hit.
Two years later, the audience returns to Bayfield University the moment after Tree (Jessica Rothe) realizes she was finally rid of her endless day of dying, which was also her birthday.
The audience sees her boyfriend’s roommate Ryan (Phi Vu) coming home from a wild night out and says that he seems to be experiencing a déjà vu. Ryan and Tree immediately know what the other is experiencing. They go to the university science center where they find out that Ryan is no mere party animal, but a science geek who has built a machine that is meant to slow time to a molecular level for his thesis project.
The appeal of the first film was that it didn’t take itself too seriously. This film takes the same approach, which is the key to creating an entertaining thrill ride.
But even with the fun and scares that advance the movie, the audience experiences vulnerable moments such as when Tree finds herself having a poignant moment with Carter and contemplates the challenges with her boyfriend, her parents and not letting the past affect one’s future.
Cast members Rothe, Israel Broussard (Carter) and Vu return and are joined with great support from new cast members Sarah Yarkin and Suraj Sharma as Ryan’s science partners. It all adds up to an excellent ensemble cast of up-and-coming talent.