Surprisingly emotional, wickedly funny, and of course classically scary... 'Happy Death Day 2U' takes an unexpected turn down an intriguing new avenue.
With all the original cast members returning including Jessica Rothe as the hate to love/love to hate Tree Gelbman, 'Happy Death Day 2U' picks up right where we left off the first time around, but don't worry... As easy as it could have been for Director Christopher Landon to practically make the same film twice, he takes a big risk in switching things up.
Jessica Rothe needs more credit. This is an incredible actress. If Tree's mania wasn't convincing enough in the first film, wait till you see her here. The sheer breadth of emotions and moods she cycles through in this hour and 40 minutes (including a particularly chilling emotional scene that made this reviewer cry... Extra props to Composer Bear McReary here, wow) is pretty extraordinary, but at the same time, we're dealing with someone who has been stuck in a time loop over and over again... This breadth of emotions is warranted. And Jessica pulls it off with ease.
We also see the return of Israel Broussard as Carter, who is completely adorable and couldn't be matched better with anyone but Tree. Their chemistry is gorgeous, and you believe it. That's really important.
Rachel Matthews gets more screen time as queen bee Danielle in the sequel, and it's welcome. She's Regina George reincarnated for 2019... Utterly over-the-top, judgemental, and truly fabulous.
As for the rest of the cast, Phi Vu returns as Ryan (and is the first person you'll see when the film starts!), Ruby Modine as the shifty Lori (yep... She's back... You'll see) and Charles Aitken reprises his role as the unsettling doctor and university professor Gregory. New characters Dre (Sarah Yarkin) and Samar (Suraj Sharma) give the film a bit of depth and a few new faces to look at; a necessity and a relief in a franchise about time looping.
The only thing missing from this film in comparison to its predecessor is a lot of the scarier stuff. The franchise takes a new direction into more of a sci-fi realm.
It's fair to say most people entered cinemas for the original 'Happy Death Day' expecting to see, more than anything, a slasher film. Well, leaving the cinema after 'Happy Death Day 2U' I'm convinced that the people behind this film are unbothered when it comes to sticking to the rules, and I believe that's a good thing. Crying, laughing, panicking... I found myself experiencing almost as many emotions as our hero Tree, and I loved it.
If you're keen to see what happens to Tree next (and you want an explanation as to where this time loop originated!) see 'Happy Death Day 2U'. Those let down by its noticeable trim-down of horror elements will surely still be impressed by the film's cast and its ability to stay fresh with an easily repeatable premise.