Happy Death Day Review

Happy Death Day is a 2017 comedy slasher horror film directed by Christopher B. Landon, starring Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, and Ruby Modine.  The story follows Tree Gelbman, who wakes up again and again on the same day -her birthday – only to be murdered and restart the process until she finds out who killed her.


  • Great performances
  • Good cast
  • Jessica Rothe is a good lead
  • Great humor
  • Interesting story
  • Really good twist
  • Good characters
  • Great character development
  • Good music
  • Well-written script


  • Character stereotypes

Plot:  The film follows Tree Gelbman (Rothe) who wakes up in another student’s, Carter Davis (Broussard), dorm room after seemingly having a one night stand with him.  She goes about her day but that night is murdered by a mysterious figure wearing a mask.  She immediately wakes up the next day under the same circumstances and later on that night is murdered again.  Tree uses her multiple lives to figure out who her murderer is before it’s too late.  The story isn’t original but it is told in a pretty relatable perspective. It is a pretty moving story and it allows a lot of character development.  The story goes at a pretty good pace and does come to a pretty satisfying end. (3 out of 5)

Characters:  The story has some pretty entertaining characters.  Tree Gelbman (Rothe) is the main protagonist, a college student who’s a member of a sorority house, who is the type of girl that is completely a bitch to the common college boy.  However, after being killed repeatedly she becomes less self absorbed and more aware of the feelings of other people, particularly a young man named Carter (Broussard) who she wakes up to after every death.  Carter is a pretty likable guy. He’s obviously the good guy everyone will root for.  There are other characters you’ll repeatedly; sorority leader Danielle (Matthews), Tree’s roommate Lori (Modine), teacher/lover Gregory (Aitken), Tree’s father (Bayle), and an associate Tim (Spillyards). (3 out of 5)

Cast:  The casting and performances are actually pretty good.  Jessica Rothe does a pretty good job and shows a good amount of emotional variety.  Liked the chemistry between her and Israel Broussard.  He just has this boy next door look to him.  The supporting cast includes Ruby Modine (Lori), Charles Aitken (Gregory), Rachel Matthews (Danielle), Caleb Spillyards (Tim), Rob Mello (Joseph Tombs), Laura Clifton (Gregory’s wife Stephanie), and Jason Bayle (Tree’s father David).  (4 out of 5)

Visuals:  The movie is a pretty good looking movie, the repeated sequences are shot well enough to show different angles or show something new in the repeated scenes.  The editing works well establishing the repeated sequences well. The action can be pretty intense and the kill sequences are done rather well.  The babyface mask is actually pretty damn creepy and makes the killer pretty menacingly. (3 out of 5)

Score:  The music works for the film, especially how well ranged it is.  Bear McCreary gives the film a lot of great themes. (3 out of 5)

Writing:  I have no problem with the writing and Christopher Landon’s vision makes the film pretty engaging.  Sure, the premise isn’t original and for viewers who have seen movies with the ‘Groundhog’s Day’ effect, this film isn’t overly new.  But the slasher element and setting do make for a more modern theme.  One of the best aspects of the film is how diverse the themes are.  It has its moments where it’s suspenseful, it’s funny, it’s dramatic, it’s thrilling.  There overall writing and dialogue works for the film.  The college is a pretty good setting, though the stereotypes in the film do feel a little one dimensional. Tree’s sorority are mostly comprised of self-centered young women who only think of partying.  Tree is a college student who’s involved with her college professor.  Carter is a nerd.  Despite this, the writing and direction works well for the film. (3 out of 5)

The Verdict:  In the end, Happy Death Day is a surprisingly good film.  The story and characters keep the film entertaining, and the execution and direction is on point.  Happy Death Day is another win for the horror movies of 2017 and definitely should be experienced.  Happy Death Day gets 3 out of 5.

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