Dunkers I’m used to having my heart broken on Valentines day but by Blumhouse? My favorite live-action studio in the whole, wide world? The studio that brought us the Venom film we all deserved in Upgrade? Who’s business model of making films on tiny million dollar budgets means that a wonderful, amazing break from CGI super-blockbusters is never too far away. Hell, their even allegedly bringing the DARK UNIVERSE back to life with an allegedly low budget, small focus, no stars 18 rated film in the pipeline. Aka EXACTLY WHAT THEY SHOULD HAVE DONE IN THE FIRST PLACE.
But back to today and I find myself being put through Happy Death Day 2U Death Harder which is a sequel to 2017’s Happy Death Day which is basically Groundhog day meeting a slasher film, a pretty solid film which needs about a sequel about as much as well…. Groundhog day.
Because where is there to go with a sequel? Either you retread old ground by either forcing the character to go through another looping day or you switch to another character and have them relive the same day over and over again.
Happily though this film decides to go for option three and completely flips genres on us. So instead of having to sit though a pointless sequel about another killer after our heroine, we get a pointless sequel that presents and then ignores a fascinating idea about how this time loop are destroying the universe and our cast should do something about it by killing themselves forever, instead opting to punt our heroine into a parallel universe where she has to relive the first film whilst debating whether she should return home or stay where fate has dumped her…
Except the killers different and all the people that we came to know over the first film have different relationships and personalities because different universe. Except we aren’t focusing on finding our new killer, we’re instead focusing on…erm….
Actually, what the hell are we focusing on?
I mean there is the thread about Tree (our alleged heroine)trying to get home by utilizing some wibbly, wobbly timey wimey device straight out of a middling episode of Doctor Who but where the first was a very tight, very simple film, this film is baggy and seems very plot light. I confess I did enjoy some some the death scenes but that’s very thin gruel when I can go to any Final Destination or Saw movie or even Death Day 1 and watch people die in interesting ways.
The dialogue isn’t as good, the characters aren’t as interesting, the film (even though it”s a mere 4 minutes longer) doesn’t really seem to have any idea what to do with itself. I get wanting to go back to the well but sometimes you should just leave be.
At the end of the day, Happy Death Day 2: Death Harder is trying to do something more than simply retreading the first one but when you open with the idea of the universe decaying because of the events of the prior and current film and then do nothing beyond another time loop film without little hints that the universe is decaying and that time is therefore running out to fix this just seems maddening. Imagine the possibilities!
And yes, the thread that Trees body is retaining the damage it’s accumulating thanks to the repeated deaths and therefore she’s getting weaker every loop is continued but wasted. Put her in a wheelchair, a cast, have her wake up missing a leg, a hand, an eye – SOMETHING to show that she’s decaying but, instead it’s just one random trip to the hospital and then off we go. And yes, there is still the mystery of who the killer is (and they do do something slightly interesting with it) but it’s just off to the sideline and is solved pretty much by accident and very little fanfare.
If this was a CW show (which it seems to aspire to want to be,) this would be one of the episodes they throw together when the budgets running low, but this isn’t a TV episode, it’s a feature film made by one of the most innovate studios out there. A sequel with no reason to exist as it has very little to say. It’s not completely hopeless, but it’s the weakest film that I’ve seen Blumhouse put out and i’m not looking forward to the already in production part 3 in the slightest.
My Score- Skip It