Review: ‘Happy Death Day’ lives up to murder mystery, suspense movie genre

By Kaitlyn DeHaven | Design Editor

It’s spooky season, and I don’t know about you, but I’m attempting to watch as many scary movies as humanly possible before the month ends. Luckily, the ghastly film I recently watched didn’t let my scare-seeking-self down.

Christopher Landon’s “Happy Death Day,” released Oct. 13, was fascinating to watch from beginning to end. Not only does the movie bring jump scares and suspense, but also brings an element of mystery. Throughout the movie, I was caught up in the story, wanting to discover who the killer was.

The film begins with a young college woman, Tree (Jessica Rothe), waking up in a dorm room on a Monday morning with a raging headache. As her day continues, it only seems to go from bad to worse as she tries to avoid the fact that it’s her birthday.

Throughout her birthday, Tree’s sour character is prominent, and it’s obvious she has a difficult past. She pushes her way through students and adults alike and refuses to discuss her birthday, even throwing away the cupcake that her roommate had so kindly made her.

On her way to a party that night, one she would later find out to be her surprise birthday party, Tree is gruesomely killed by a masked murderer. Once she dies, she awakens once again in the dirty dorm room with the same headache, confused and freaked out.

The movie continues with Tree reliving her birthday every day and being murdered by the same creepy person every night. Once she figures out that she is going to continue dying, she decides to solve the mystery of who her killer is, in hopes that she can beat death and live until tomorrow.

As you dive further into the movie’s plot, Tree’s background is explained, and the viewer learns why she tries to ignore her birthday. (Also, a romance is introduced to the movie to spice things up a bit.)

The back and forth between relationships and friendships only intensifies as Tree tries to identify her killer — no one is safe and everyone is a suspect.

The use of small details in the movie was well done because it gave the viewer clues to who the murderer is, and I managed to solve the case about halfway through the movie — but that didn’t stop me from hanging onto every scene.

The cinematography created unbearable suspense in some scenes, and there were times throughout the movie where I nearly fell on the floor in a flash of pure terror.

Fortunately, the sounds of the movie helped guide me along on an auditory journey of twists and turns, helping me know which direction the movie was headed…or so I thought.

As the movie came to a close, there was a scene that absolutely deceived me by giving me false hope with the allure of happy music, but it turned out to be a complete lie that turned my world upside down.

Overall, the movie was extremely well done and kept me entertained from beginning to end, but I still have so many unanswered questions. While the murder was solved, much of the rest of the story lies unanswered, and left me wanting a deeper storyline. I wanted more to be explained and I almost felt like the storyline had a shallower plot than I had expected.

The movie satisfied my spooky craving for the night and I would recommend the flick to any of my friends who wanted a good way to spend a Friday night.

“Happy Death Day” is currently playing at the AMC Classic Galaxy 16 and the Regal Jewel Stadium 16 in standard showings.