By Andy Chandler
Time travel is one of the coolest devices to weave stories around, especially on film.
Whether it’s Bill & Ted going back in time to grab famous historical characters like Napoleon, Beef-oven or So Crates to help them pass their history test, Marty McFly fixing his parents relationship or even John Cusack returning to the 1980’s in a Hot Tub: time travel is very, very cool.
Those examples of time travel are the garish side of Hollywood, they take the bare bones of travelling in time and they bend it to fit their story how and when they want. Like when Bill & Ted get thrown in jail and they promise to go back in time when they’re done and leave the jail keys within easy reach and then POOF they appear. It breaks the rules but it works….just.
Another type of time travel is the ‘Edge Of Tomorrow’ or ‘Groundhog Day’ ever-repeating loop where a character must repeat the same series of events over and over again until they get it right. Bill Murray punching and smarming his way ever closer to Andie McDowell is a great film, a classic even, but that film is one of the few I think that was in dire need of an update, so when Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt faced a similar set up in the face of an alien invasion it felt very fresh and they add enough of a twist to it that it worked really well.
It was only a matter of time (haha) before someone else put their own unique spin on the ever-repeating loop and the newest one comes in the form of Happy Death Day. A slasher/horror film where college student ‘Tree’ (Jessica Rothe) wakes up on her birthday in Carter’s (Israel Broussard) college dormroom after a night of rather heavy drinking, she dismisses calls from her dad and sets about the walk-of-shame back to her sorority house where she bumps into an ex.
When she arrives home she’s given a birthday cake by her room mate, she despises her so throws it in the bin before realising she’s horrendously late for class. Once there it becomes clear that she’s having an affair with her married lecturer when his wife nearly catches the two of them having a kiss and a cuddle.
Later that night, Tree heads out to celebrate her birthday. She gets lured into a tunnel by a figure wearing the mask of the college mascot, who then savagely murders her.
The next thing Tree knows she’s waking back up in Carter’s dormroom and her birthday plays out exactly the same only now Tree knows that somewhere out there is her killer. DUN DUN DUUUUUNNNNN!
What follows is a great horror film, it’s tense, it’s bloody and it keeps you on the edge of your seat. Watching Tree try and solve her own murder before it happens can take you anywhere from tense moments as she watches a suspect through a window to laugh-out-loud moments of her killer unexpectedly stumbling across her and starting the whole cycle all over again.
I cannot recommend Happy Death Day enough, it’s the slasher film you’ve been looking for and one of the best horror movies of the last ten years (it’s up there with ‘It’ for sure). It’s like the perfect mix of ‘Groundhog Day’ and ‘Scream’ and brings you a tense horror movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Especially during the cool end scene where two characters openly talk about how it ‘sounds like Groundhog Day to me’.
With a sequel scheduled to hit sometime next year, now is the perfect time to give this great horror movie a go. It’s on NowTV for the streamers or available from all good DVD shops if you’re old skool. Enjoy!