The first Happy Death Day was a slasher-tinted riff on Groundhog Day, the 1993 classic in which Bill Murray lives again and again the next day until he learns to become less dick. Like that movie, Happy Death Day never explained the cause of the time-loop in which Tree (Jessica Rothe) woke up every morning in the dormitory of a stranger and was murdered every night by a murderer in a baby mask. Was an almighty attempt to teach Tree a lesson? Has anyone cursed her, as in the infamous second version of the Groundhog Day script? The film did not give answers and some concrete hints.

Just as in the film to which Happy Death Day owes its existence, the cause of the anomaly was less important than the journey and the lessons we learned along the way. Happy Death Day 2U throws that out of the window and explains everything.

Fortunately, however, it does not feel like they scrambled to find an explanation for cockamame when they learned they would get a sequel. Director Christopher B. Landon even told Insider in 2017 that he already knew what caused the time course, long before a sequel was a certain thing. "It's in my back pocket … if I'm lucky I'll get the chance to make a sequel, the answer to that question is the starting point of my sequel," he said.

I will not spoil what it is, but it does not take long before HDD2U discovers it. And as Landon said in the same interview, the cause of the time-loop is strongly referred to in the original – although it is only clear afterwards.

So in exchange for taking away the mystery, what do we get in Happy Death Day 2U? The sequel is a much more powerful mix of genres, mixing elements of slashers, comedy and sci-fi, all with an ironic humor that tells the audience that the film knows exactly what it is. It expands the cast of characters, introduces a number of new ones and adds new dimensions to the old – literally the plot this time talks about parallel universes, as anyone who has seen the trailers may suspect.

The film switches several times from the opening, in which Carter's (Israel Broussard) unhappy roommate Ryan (Phi Vu) gets stuck in his own deadly loop, raiding the narrative cul-de-sac of a comedic, to Tree & # 39; s journey to an alternative universe in which different important parts of her life are different. HDD2U devotes a skewed amount of time to it, and Tree's riddle ultimately forms the bulk of the runtime of the film, which eventually becomes disappointing after the film's efforts to work out its other characters early on.

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Ryan – the shower roommate roommate who began each morning of Tree 's original course by referring to her as "fine vague" – appears to be an intriguing protagonist in itself, before the focus goes back to Tree. And the film introduces several other students (Sarah Yarkin and Suraj Sharma), as well as the film-like chase Dean Bronson (Steve Zissis) from the 80s, all of whom should have been filled in more.

Part of the reason why they are not, is that Jessica Rothe is as magnetic as protagonist Tree. The limits of frustration, determination, joy, despair and tiredness that she shows in both films justify enough to keep the series beyond number two. The rest of the characters are destined to just be a key player, little by little, so it is understandable why the sequel relies on that and the focus is on her. The other notable this time is Rachel Matthews & alpha boss student union sister Danielle, who ends up playing a fairly different version of the character in the alternative universe of Tree.

In the end Happy Death Day 2U works despite the incongruity of its different parts. Jumping between horror, comedy and sci-fi tones is a difficult balancing act, and HDD2U pulls it out, despite a few stumbling blocks here and there. If it wants to be funny, it certainly is, while there are also legitimate fears that cause some viewers to jump out of their seats. And the sci-fi elements lead to an intriguing – although still hilarious – conclusion that I sincerely hope will be picked up in another sequel to Happy Death Day.

The original Happy Death Day is easy on its own as a complete, self-contained film. Like Groundhog Day, it did not have to be explained. But if you are going to expand a movie like Happy Death Day, this is the way to do it.

The good The bad
Jessica Rothe is an incredibly sympathetic protagonist Could have spent more time with side characters
Expands on the original without harming it A number of narrative cul-de-sacs, including a section on extermination
Has a lot of fun with the starting point
Impressively combines slasher, comedy and sci-fi