Stop me if you’ve heard this before, possibly in the exact same way you heard it yesterday: Happy Death Day, opening Friday, is a riff on Groundhog Day, the classic Bill Murray comedy about an arrogant weather man who lives Feb. 2 over and over until he gets it right.
It may sound familiar even if you’re not stuck in your own time loop because this year saw the release of Before I Fall, in which a teenage girl (Zoey Deutch) keeps reliving a day that ends in a tragic car crash; the Netflix debut of Naked, in which a feckless man (Marlon Wayans) keeps waking up naked in an elevator on the morning of his wedding; and the Broadway birth of Groundhog Day, the musical, in which, well, you know. Happy Death Day is the slasher-movie version: A disdainful sorority girl (Jessica Rothe) keeps getting stabbed to death by a masked attacker on her birthday, resetting with every death. She uses this time-loop as an opportunity to track down her killer.
From a creative standpoint, it’s easy to see why this structure has been repeated: The conceptual heavy-lifting has already been done by another movie, but there’s still room for individual invention. Of course, Groundhog Day didn’t invent the idea of getting stuck in a time-loop, but it’s the clear reference point for most of the time-loop movies that have followed — especially in its conceit that reliving the same day over and over should become a vehicle for self-improvement. That’s true of the best Groundhog Day successor Edge of Tomorrow, where Tom Cruise gradually sheds his glib cowardice and becomes a super-soldier as he re-lives a battle with marauding aliens.
Before I Fall and Happy Death Day are notable for refocusing this self-improvement plan on young women. (The most negligible entry of the year, Netflix’s Naked, has both the clumsiest employment of the gimmick and the flimsiest thematic backbone; it’s about a guy who needs to, like, try a little harder.) Fall’s heroine is a popular girl complicit in her friends’ bullying behavior, while Happy Death Day’s Tree is, if not the meanest girl in her sorority, perhaps abdicating the title due to lack of effort. She brushes off her roommate, rolls her eyes at a guy who helped her out after a night of heavy drinking, and ignores phone calls from her dad.
In a normal slasher picture, Tree would …
Source:: The Week – Entertainment