“Happy Death Day” brings time travel twist

“Happy Death Day” is a film that fails at the attempt to cross romance with suspense.

The movie borrows the main concepts of the 1993 Bill Murray comedy, “Groundhog Day,” which sees a TV weatherman stuck in a time loop that forces him to relive the same day over and over.

In this case, the protagonist is a beautiful but narcissistic college student who dies at the hands of an unknown killer at the end of her birthday. After her death, the day starts over again.

The main characters are decent. Protagonist Tree Gelbman hides her demons beneath her careless façade. Her counterpart, Cater Davis, is a caring, nerdy student. Both characters can resonate with the targeted audience, since their characteristics are common within the high school/college community.

Throughout the film, Gelbman must find out why she is hunted and killed on her birthday. Along her journey, she has to come to terms with each of her deaths and use the rule of elimination to identify her killer. While trying to live, she also attempts to change her life and become a better person.

The cast features a series of newer actors and actresses. With no A-List stars on the payroll, the film must work harder to grab the attention of audiences. Though the acting seems raw at points, the overall performance by the actors remains convincing.

However, the plot seems to follow the classic horror comedy template. It is one of many films where one can know the whole plot simply by watching the trailer.

Pairing cheesy horror film clichés, such as falling while running and the inability to make sane decisions, the film also presents the teen romantic comedy cliché of the popular girl falling in love with a nerdy guy.

The production is also nothing special. Although the film does not focus solely on its several unnecessary jump-scares, it misses the mark on the comedic effects. Gimmicks like spilling drinks and oddly-placed profanity still count as comedy in the eyes of the writer.

It is a shame the editors did not pair an ‘80s sitcom laugh track behind those moments.

Nevertheless, I give “Happy Death Day” two out of five stars. Despite its problems, the film can give audiences time out of the day to not drown in stress and worries. With minimal thinking needed, this movie makes a great escape.

Surprisingly, the movie received 68 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Earning more than 10 times its budget, the film will probably have a sequel.

Maybe, next time, the director will feel like making a good movie.