I was not a fan of the original Happy Death Day so the idea of going back to the same day once again for the sequel makes me feel like I’m trapped inside of my own repeating nightmare. The trailers for Happy Death Day 2U make it seem like the game has changed and that other people have now been pulled into Tree’s time loop, but in reality it’s just more of the same. The film struggles to provide any clarity to questions that didn’t need answers in the first place and only complicates the story further with disjointed plots. Happy Death Day 2U is a messy film that repeats itself over and over again without actually going anywhere.
Following the events of the first film, it’s Carter’s roommate Ryan (Phi Vu) who now finds himself stuck in a time loop with another baby-masked killer on the loose trying to murder him. We soon find out that it’s all been caused by Ryan’s science project, a device that in theory should only slow down time. Obviously something went wrong, and in an attempt to fix it, he accidentally sends Tree (Jessica Rothe) back into the past to repeat her birthday all over again...and again. Furious about having to repeat everything once more, Tree goes through the same motions, only to find out that things are slightly different this time around. Her only chance at getting out of the time loop and back to her reality is to fix Ryan’s device before she is murdered one too many times.
Happy Death Day 2U is a complicated mess that constantly struggles with its genre. It’s both a horror film that isn’t scary and a dark comedy that isn’t funny. I was actually excited at first because it could have been interesting to see the a new time loop from a different character’s perspective, but sadly that’s not what the film decided to run with. I get it too. Jessica Rothe is by far the strongest actor in the franchise so of course they’re going to revolve everything around her character, but the film sets everything up around Ryan, and then completely ignores him in favor of retreading old ground again. I found myself constantly thinking back to pretty big things that happen in the beginning of the film that go completely unanswered by the end. Nothing makes sense, and frankly the film never gave me a reason to care in the first place.
The only good thing I enjoyed about Happy Death Day 2U was the death montage in the middle of the film in which Rothe fully embraces the ridiculousness of the franchise. Other than that one scene, I was bored by the repetitive and unnecessarily complex nature of everything. The story just keeps building and building without every giving any answers in return. There’s no payoff. Happy Death Day 2U gets stuck in its own loop and shows there’s no escape for the franchise.