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Review: Happy Death Day 2U – “An extremely smart sequel”

After helming the first film, Christopher Landon (Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones) returns to direct the second instalment of Blumhouse’s Groundhog Day horror franchise — Happy Death Day 2U — also writing this time too. Jessica Rothe (La La Land) again stars, alongside other returning cast members: Israel Broussard (The Bling Ring), Phi Vu (Logan), Rachel Matthews and Ruby Modine (Shameless).

After breaking herself out of a time loop where she was trapped living the day she was killed by a maniac in a baby mask over and over again until she could become a better person and figure out who the murderer was, Tree (Rothe) is death free and loved up with Carter (Broussard). OR SO SHE THINKS.

Moving the film’s initial focus to Carter’s inappropriate roommate, Ryan (Vu), Happy Death Day 2U reveals that Ryan is the one who is causing the time loops with a science experiment also responsible for those power outages in the first film. In breaking himself out of his own loop, Ryan traps Tree in her birthday day again – but this time in another dimension and with a different killer.

A huge amount of comedy is mined from Tree’s new predicament, and Jessica Rothe provides another charisma-bomb performance proving that she should be the lead in absolutely everything from now on. Her myriad death’s this time around are even more extra, and the laughs are heightened by just how angry Tree is to get stuck in another loop where everything is slightly remixed.

As well as the constant comedy gold of Tree’s surprise and frustration with this new universe, Rothe is outstanding in some heart-rending scenes involving a new familial predicament that makes her question what reality she wants to remain in AND is again a fantastic “final girl” when the killer comes a calling.

There’s definitely a little less of the stalk and slash action in Happy Death Day 2U, but it still provides plenty of blood, thrills and is an excellent whodunnit. This is an extremely smart sequel that is interestingly leaning the franchise harder into the sci-fi elements of the story, with a post-credits scene showing this is going to be of greater importance still in the next one.

A mind-blowing slasher Back to the Future II that expands the universe in a super cool way, Happy Death Day 2U serves up another big slice of blood, scares, laughs and personal growth.

Happy Death Day 2U is out now in the UK.

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