No one wants to wake up on their birthday to find out they are constantly dying.
In the movie “Happy Death Day,” a college student must relive the day of her murder over and over, in a loop that will only end when she can identify her killer. The movie features Jessica Rothe as Tree Gelbman, a college student at Bayfield University.
The opening scene starts with Tree waking up on Monday in the dorm room of fellow classmate, Carter Davis (Israel Broussard), with a bad hangover. She then ignores a phone call from her father. Tree starts to head out and sees Carter’s roommate Ryan (Phi Vu) coming in and asking if he slept with her. She ignores him and runs out.
On her way to her own room, Tree runs into a guy she went out with named Tim (Caleb Spillyards). The two engage in a brief conversation about why she hasn’t called him back, and then she leaves him there wondering.
Tree then goes home and sees her roommate Lori Spengler (Ruby Modine). Tree and Lori have a brief conversation, before Tree realizes she is late for class and frantically gets ready. Lori presents Tree with a cupcake, and she blows out the candle before dumping the cupcake in the trash because of the carbs, leaving Lori with hurt feelings since she had baked the cupcake from scratch.
Tree goes to her class and later meets with her professor, Gregory Butler (Charles Aitken). The two are having an affair, despite Gregory being married. His wife Stephanie (Laura Clifton) then tries to open the door that is stuck with a chair up against it and interrupts the two.
Later in the movie, Tree joins her sorority sisters during lunch for a meeting regarding a spring dance. The head sister, Danielle Houseman (Rachel Matthews), makes fun of another sister, Becky (Cariella Smith), for bringing junk food to eat. Becky gets up to leave and bumps into Carter, causing her to spill her food all over Tree. Carter tries to return to Tree some jewelry she left behind.
Danielle invites Tree to a party at a dorm later that evening. Tree walks through the campus alone and passes a group of guys wearing the school’s sports team mascot (they’re the “Babies”). As she heads past a bridge that is blocked off due to construction, she hears sounds of a music box playing. Tree goes over to pick up the box and sees someone with a baby mask standing a few feet in front of her. She threatens to call the cops, and the person runs. Tree starts to leave but is then chased by the masked person, who eventually catches Tree and stabs her to death.
She then wakes up again in Carter’s dorm room, and it’s Monday again. At this point, Tree is not sure what is going on, and she begins to realize that someone is trying to kill her. So she changes the place it happens. Every time she wakes up, she relives the same day over and over, except with changing a few minor details and trying to figure out who her killer is.
Every time she wakes up after being murdered, she gets weaker from the injuries. She ends up fainting and Carter takes her to the hospital, where Gregory tells her that with the injuries she has, she should be dead. She ends up sneaking into his office to look for his keys but finds a mask in his desk and starts to think that he is her killer. As she was running way, the killer murders Gregory. She escapes, only to have the killer blow up the car she is in.
This repeats a few times before she tells Carter what is happening and then figures out that a serial killer named Joseph Tombs (Rob Mello), notorious for going after young women, is her killer. She then goes after him, only to have Tombs kill Carter. She knows if she killed Tombs that Carter would stay dead, so she leads him to a bell tower where she then hangs and kills herself.
Tree goes back to the hospital where Tombs is and prepares to kill her murderer. She succeeds and heads off to a birthday dinner with Carter and eats the cupcake Lori made her.
Tree wakes up again in Carter’s room, as the birthday ringtone plays. It’s still Monday. She becomes confused and angry, wondering how she could still be stuck in the loop. She runs to her room to find Lori, who offers her the cupcake again. Tree declines it and says she ate it the night before.
Then it hits her. She died in her sleep, which is because the cupcake was poisoned all along. She never ate the cupcake before, so she realizes Lori was the killer the whole time. Since she works at the hospital, Lori had access to Tombs. It was easy for her to set him loose and make it look like he killed Tree, due to his history.
Tree tries to make Lori eat the cupcake and even threatens to bring it to the police. Lori comes clean and says this was all because Gregory was more into Tree and not her, which Tree thinks is a stupid motive. The two start fighting as Lori tries to finish Tree off for good. They are interrupted by Danielle from outside the room, as Lori has Tree pinned to the bed. But Tree manages to grab the cupcake and shoves it into Lori’s mouth. Tree then jumps up and grabs the ceiling lamp, swings as hard as she can and kicks Lori out of the window to her death.
At the end of the movie, Tree and Carter are in a diner watching the news report on the incident. Carter tells Tree that her situation reminds him of the movie “Groundhog Day,” but she’s never heard of it or Bill Murray.
Carter then asks Tree where she would be staying since her room was a crime scene, and she tells him in his room.
Tree wakes up and hears the birthday ringtone again. Carter acts like she’s just waking up hungover again. Tree starts to freak out, until Carter reveals he was just pranking her and it’s officially Tuesday.
I went into this movie hoping that it was going to be super scary and bloody, but it was not. It was more suspenseful, and I did jump a few times. I enjoyed this movie and will be buying it when it comes out on DVD.
I give “Happy Death Day,” a 10 out of 10.