It's pumpkin spice.
Slasher movies are my favorite horror subgenre, but the best new entries seem to require a gimmick to differentiate themselves from the plenitude of terrible Friday the 13th wannabes. Happy Death Day will most certainly knock The Visit from the list of Blumhouse hits that grace future trailers from the horror magnate.
As the Groundhog Day of slasher movies, Happy Death Day tortures its final girl, a rather mean girl named Tree (Jessica Rothe), by having her relive her birthday vicious death after vicious death. Eventually, the nice guy (Israel Broussard), whose dorm room walls sport a poster for John Carpenter’s They Live, figures out she has to figure out who the killer is to stop the cycle.
Happy Death Day accomplishes the rare feat of successfully bridging horror and comedy without sacrificing too much of either. Granted, the movie lacks the deadly danger to generate any real tension, but the laughs are as genuine as the jump scares. Rothe is particularly terrific, like an ’80s teen movie heroine, and she convincingly conveys Tree’s extreme character arc. Being written by a longtime X-Men writer, Scott Lobdell, only makes Happy Death Day that much cooler.