After a massive booze that gets her drunk to death, Tree Gelbman (Jessica Roth) wakes up in a dorm in the room of some guy she can’t remember the name of. Today is her birthday, and in the evening her classmates are throwing a party for her, her father is also waiting for her for lunch, but she doesn’t want to meet her father – they are at odds after the death of her mother Three, but of course she will go to the party: in fact, the current Three’s life is intelligently divided between various amusements, drinking and promiscuous sex, and she even managed to have an affair with a married doctor, Gregory Butler (Charles Aitkin), who is also a teacher of Three at the university.
Tree returns to her dorm, where her roommate Lori (Ruby Modine) wishes Tree a happy birthday and hands her a hand-baked cake with a candle, which she tosses into the trash can. After that, Tri preens and goes to a party, but on the way there she is attacked by a man in black clothes with a creepy childish mask on his face and kills the girl with a hefty knife.
Tri wakes up again in the same guy’s room, revealed to be Carter (Israel Broussard). Tree is completely unable to understand what is happening: yesterday is repeated down to the smallest detail and she is still on September 18th in her birthday.
But she remembers what happened yesterday, so she goes to the party in a completely different way, gets to the place safely and starts having fun, after which the same man in black clothes with a baby mask on his face kills her during the party.
Well, now, of course, Three needs to find out somehow who this person is and why he is killing her, and also try to somehow stop him in order to break this vicious circle.
This movie has been recommended to me several times. And once again, he was reminded of in the comments to my review of the most recent black-humor action movie “Day of the Trigger”, where there is both a time loop and a cool action movie.
Well, I finally decided to be honored and watched this film, which, in general, I did not regret at all.
But before I talk about my impressions, this film was released by Blumhouse, founded by Jason Bloom, and this studio is known for virtually monopolizing the market for cheap-made horror films that sometimes shoot at the box office with absolutely fantastic box office figures (their the first hit “Paranormal Activity” cost $ 240 thousand, and at the box office grossed almost $ 200 million, well, “Astral” also grossed $ 1.5 million with a budget of $ 1.5 million), it was also in this studio that Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” was released, very I liked the black humor action movie The Hunt, and they also invested in low-budget but highly acclaimed films like Obsession and Black Klansman.
The script for “Happy Day of Death” was written by Scott Lobdell, and this script has been wandering around the studios since 2007: then it seemed that they were even going to stage this film and actress Megan Fox was called the main character. But then nothing happened with this, and the script eventually got to Jason Bloom, who in 2016 launched this project in his usual style: the budget is no more than $ 5 million, no stars to hell, if it shoots, it’s good, it doesn’t shoot – absolutely do not care, because the studio can afford a dozen failures for one success. And, to be honest, with such budgets, they didn’t have any obvious failures at all, because a $ 5 million film will easily beat off on disks and screening rights for streaming services.
They put Christopher Landon in the director’s chair, who had previously directed the well-received tragicomic horror film Scouts vs. Zombies.
The casting, of course, was not a single star, and the main character Jessica Roth was known only for the fact that she played about the twentieth most important role in the stupid, albeit superfamous “La La Land”, and even moviegoers will not say who she played there at all and whether she played at all.
So what, you ask, did they get out of it? Complete rubbish? So the fact of the matter is that it doesn’t suck at all. Yes, it’s clear that time loops are already a little tired, but they have been exploited and continue to be exploited: the examples of the recent romantic comedy Hang in Palm Springs and the cool black-humor action movie Trigger Day already mentioned here prove that this everything can be quite successful.
Also, the story that the main character, who is in a time loop, dies at the end of the day and he needs to somehow make sure that he does not die in order to break the time loop – she was at least in the New Day series back in 2006, and in the film “Edge of Tomorrow” with Corn – about the same plot.
However, after all, Blumhouse did make one specific innovation: they crossed the time loop not just with an action movie, but with a youth slasher. You know, slasher: some terribly evil maniac is chasing a pretty blonde with a bloodied ax (an ax maniac, not a blonde), the blonde is squealing, her friends are squealing, her friends are squealing, the audience is smashing handfuls of popcorn and Coke is getting cold in the esophagus.
And here everything seems to be done according to more or less standard patterns, because the blonde is a classic bitch: extremely selfish, respecting no one and nothing, appreciating only booze and random fucking. She is not interested in classical music, she doesn’t watch movies (“Groundhog Day” she didn’t watch, that’s what it came to), she’s not interested in physics who Schopenhauer is – she doesn’t even know at all, although she might say that this is a brand of German booze .
And then the audience began to seem to gently lead to the fact that the blonde, like Phil Connors from Groundhog Day, would reject the cynical past and with trembling hands throw back the veil of future virtue, and there it seemed that everything would be completely boring, because well, how much You can have this stupid virtue, but what’s good about this film is that everything here is far from being as predictable as you might think!
In fact, this picture was shot quite dashingly and not without some certain figs in your pocket and obvious mockery of youth slashers as such, it’s not for nothing that I defined the genre of this film as a tragicomedic horror movie, which in itself seems to sound more than paradoxical, because if a horror movie So what’s with the comedy? And if it’s a tragicomedy, then what does a horror movie have to do with it, right?
So, in this film, the creators managed to do everything very carefully: the picture should appeal to young people, because it quite confidently mows down to youth cinema, and it may well cause approval among the age audience, which will discern a certain layering in this film, thanks to which “Happy day of death” is noticeably out of the long line of youth slashers that Bublik and I traditionally do not watch, because we are simply bored to watch them. And here – never boring, but on the contrary – fun!
Jessica Roth as the main character – very, you know, not bad. And we will generously not notice that the actress is about ten years older than her heroine – after all, no one has canceled the art of reincarnation. She played well: she was quite charismatic both in the role of a complete bitch, and in the role of a repentant sinner, and in the role of a young Padawan who embarked on the path of the Force. I liked it, yes, I might even revisit La La Land to understand who she played there. Just kidding, of course, I once did not understand why this dull madhouse was watching, that’s enough for me.
I also liked Israel Broussard as the handsome boy Carter, who at times began to play a prominent role in the narrative of another happy day of death. Moreover, Broussard somehow quite imperceptibly mimicked the role of a kind of shy nerd, for whom Tri is suitable, if not as a mother, then at least as an older sister, a quite self-confident hero-lover, and not at all a nerd.
Ruby Modine as Lori, Tri’s roommate, is good and I’ve definitely seen her before on Shameless.
In general, a good film turned out, I did not even expect. But Blumhouse – they are. They do not shy away from interesting genre fusions, they manage to make quite decent films for minimal budgets, and, most importantly, they have something to surprise!
(By the way, the excellent fantasy action movie “Upgrade”, filmed for the most perfect pennies with unknown actors, is also the Blumhouse studio.)
I know that the studio released a sequel to this film in 2019 called “Happy New Death Day”, but the ratings for the sequel are quite low, and I don’t want to watch it – just so as not to spoil the impression of the first film. However, the sequel showed an excellent TCC as much as 7.1 (from 3 – the film has already paid off), but this is unlikely to make me watch it.
And the original film, by the way, grossed as much as $125 million with a budget of $4.8 million, showing an absolutely outrageous GCC of 26 units, but this often happens at Blumhouse studios: they can, yes.
PS I wonder why the hell in the United Statesn box office the main character was suddenly called Trish (Trish), when exactly was she Tri (Tree)? Well, yes, tree is like a tree. And what is wrong? Why is it possible for Gruto, but not for a girl?
Happy Death Day movie meaning
Director: Christopher Landon Cast: Jessica Roth, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Charles Aitkin, Laura Clifton, Jason Bale, Rob Mello, Rachel Matthews, Ramsey Anderson, Brady Lewis
Tragicomedy horror film, USA, 2017, 96 min.