Saturday, October 21, 2017

Movie Review … Happy Death Day

Horror movies are often given a bad rap.  Sneered, despised and criticized, seen by many as the slums of film-making.  Little do critics realize the genre’s profitability often earning more than many over-praised dramas.  Unlike other cinematic genres like westerns, horror films are still popular and show no sign of vanishing.  ‘Happy Death Day’ is another in a long-line looking to earn a crust.  Captivating and interesting, it will probably be slammed for being a mere horror movie but should laugh all the way to the cemetery as it screams up box office dollars.

Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) is living on a university campus enjoying life.  Waking up on her birthday she looks forward to a great day with friends Carter (Israel Broussard) and Lori (Ruby Modine).  Evil strikes when a vicious killer ensures Tree’s birthday becomes her last.  Following her death, Tree wakes up on the same day and is killed again.  This pattern repeats itself until Tree figures out who is killing her and how to fight back against a killer who seems as unstoppable as her endless birthday.

Basically a horrific version of ‘Groundhog Day’, ‘Happy Death Day’ uses the ‘endless time’ concept well.  Only by reliving her birthday can Tree discover the killer’s motivation and learn a few personal lessons along the way.  There’s not much more to the film than that as ‘Happy Death Day’ is a generally no frills slasher flick with a cool idea.  It mostly works due to Rothe’s magnetic presence and Christopher B Landon’s directorial flair.

But ‘Happy Death Day’ lacks depth. Not every great horror movie needs massive substance, but it helps knowing character’s backgrounds which can make viewing more engaging.  There are plenty of great suspects to uncover but a little more time exploring their mindset could have made for a better experience. The scares and gallows humour are mixed well with the kills becoming ‘fun’ for the ghoulishly minded.

‘Happy Death Day’ offers celebratory chills for fans to admire.  It’s easy to watch with some decent performances and suitably chilling atmosphere.  Horror movie critics will always be around but films like ‘Happy Death Day’ give it gloss even if it offers a birthday surprise not many would want.

Movie Review Rating out of 10:  6

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.



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