Happy Death Day 2U – DeaconsDen Reaction

It’s Monday the 18th again and again and again. Happy Death Day 2U is the sequel to the 2017 hit about a young woman trapped in a time loop. Jessica Rothe returns as Tree Gelbman in this follow up that throws in new ways to keep the concept fresh.

I loved the original film because of its playing around with the familiar slasher movie while having the sci-fi twist of a time loop (See my prior review). In the middle of it all, you had the story of the growth of a woman who had taken on a cynical approach to life. The sequel continues with that concept while providing some explanation for what’s happening to Tree, while allowing her continual growth as well.

I’m sure when it was announced there would be a sequel to Happy Death Day, people might have considered it to be a case of Die Hard 2 (How can the same thing happen to the same girl twice)? Director-writer Christopher Landon decides that rather than repeating what came prior (pun intended), why not do that and expand on the concept and how we got to this point? You learn at the start of the film why Tree is caught in the loop and what got her there in the prior film. Yet it’s not just to simply tell more story, it’s also used as a part of Tree’s continuing development as one of modern movies coolest heroines. Once we reach the final act, you see Tree take another leap forward in characterization. Jessica Rothe just keeps showing her chops as a lead actress with charm and snark and charisma. Just like I said in 2017, I want to see more of her, she deserves that chance.

I’m happy the supporting cast gets to play around this time. The prior film has Tree mostly with Israel Broussard’s Carter Davis, but we get to see Phi Vu as Carter’s friend Ryan who plays a more essential role. Also, Rachel Matthews as Danielle is the perfect foil to Tree.

The sci-fi concepts are expanded here and that may or may not work for you. I know for myself, I love stories that play with time, and I feel the move here worked in the film’s favor. You still have the slasher aspect, but there’s more comedic aspects this time around. There certainly was comedy in the original, but it’s a little more obvious here. A highlight is a funny montage of deaths for Tree that also gets a little macabre as well. Yet I felt it juggled thrills, humor and sci-fi pretty equally.

Happy Death Day 2U is not a leaps and bound type of sequel, yet like its predecessor, it merges genres in a way that’s fun to watch. Now that this is a series, it really becoming a favorite of mine. Also there is a scene during the end credits that point to where things can go from here. I want to see that happen because I’m loving everything about these movies.

Escape Room – DeaconsDen Quick Reaction

I know we’re into February now and I hadn’t posted any reactions this year at all. I’ve been deep in a new job and back in school as well so I’m finally getting back in the swing of writing so right now I’m playing catch up with some quick pieces.

Escape Room is a psychological thriller directed by Adam Robitel. The film follows a group of people who all receive invitations to participate in a high tech escape room for a pretty hefty reward. Yet as events unfold it turns out there’s more to this than expected and the participants must really work together to not only escape but to survive.

With escape rooms now being a popular outing for people (I myself have never done one), taking this idea into the film world was an interesting concept that intrigued me enough to see this. The first thing you’ll notice about Escape Room is it appears to clearly be inspired by the “Saw” franchise. However this is a PG-13 film so you don’t have the violence and gore that goes along with it. There is another horror franchise I noticed in its DNA as well, but to mention it here might would spoil a later development in the story. Even with its toned down content, Escape Room was still a mostly enjoyable thriller. There are some decent thrills and some of the ways the creators play with the concept are fun. There’s one room in particular that is probably the highlight of the entire film.

Escape Room does not break new ground for thrillers at all. It’s pretty derivative, but it does elicit some suspenseful moments and plays with a current concept, even if it’s final package is something we’ve all seen before.