Directed by Christopher Landon who knows how to add suspense to a movie (Disturbia with Shia LaBeouf and others in the same genre), Happy Death Day is a little different. Not a fan of horror movies, thank goodness this was more detective than just a straight out scream queen, slasher flick. Jessica Rothe stars as self-obsessed college student Tree Gelbman, who wakes up in someone else's dorm room, on her birthday, from a nightmare of having been murdered by a masked man.
As she goes through her actual day, her dream becomes a reality and the masked man wins. He kills her. Come the next morning, she wakes again in the same dorm room and is perplexed she's still alive.
A couple of rounds of this time loop and she's freaking out she may be going crazy. Carter, to whom the dorm room belongs, suggests that perhaps it'll keep happening till she works out who her killer is, and for her to start compiling a list and working it out.
Soon enough, Tree realises if she doesn't work it out fast enough, she may well run out of lives, as her injuries are real. Her body shows signs of the trauma caused by so many blows.
Don't spoil the film for yourself with expectation levels of horror and gore. Just enjoy it for what it is; a teen flick with some suspense and detective work thrown in, coupled with some comedic moments. There's enough there to make it passable and enjoyable.
Little known Rothe (La La Land) handles herself really well, giving a good performance as the lead female that's sugar and spice and not always nice. The rest of the cast are of no real significance other than to make up the necessary parts to make the story whole. It's all about Tree.
The film is also clever enough to keep you guessing as to the identity of the killer. Hands up if any of you did before it's revealed! The other tough question is, why is she caught in this time loop? Why is it happening to her? It took me a while to nut it out, but now I have my plausible theory which I'm happy with. I wonder what yours will be.