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  • Practice (almost) makes perfect


Practice (almost) makes perfect

OUT NOW! The originality of HAPPY DEATH DAY almost hits the target with its Groundhog Day-styled reliving of a girl's murder.

Picture the scene. A scriptwriter brazenly walks into a board meeting and gives the studio execs his marketable elevator pitch: what if we made Groundhog Day into a campy campus slasher flick, with some Scream-like hints of self-awareness to boot? If this sounds appealing, then good news: this is exactly what you’re getting with Happy Death Day. Specifically, it should go down a treat with younger viewers who aren’t familiar with every horror trope and archetype used and abused here, a tale that sees a shallow sorority final-girl relive the day of her murder time and time again, needing to uncover her masked stalker in order to break her murderous time loop. For genre aficionados, this tame throwback will feel altogether more derivative. And more’s the pity, as the movie had the potential to be something special, if only scriptwriter Scott Lobdell had built upon the core concept, and elevated his pitch with scarier scares and a more inventive denouement. Thankfully, Jessica Rothe’s charismatic performance as Scream Queen-in-the-making redeems some of the film’s clunkier moments and compensates for her character’s name. (It’s Tree. As in the perennial woody plant. Cue eye-rolls.) Thanks to her efforts and comic timing, you end up with a naff but breezily entertaining romp, one which shows that Blumhouse – the indie-horror production company behind The Purge and Get Out – is currently cornering the market when it comes to backing low-budget films that end up being either critical darlings or eye-wateringly profitable. In the case of Get Out, both; for Happy Death Day, just the latter.

Happy Death Day | Directed by Christopher Landon (US, 2017), with Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard. Starts Nov 16.

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