Comic horror sequel 'Happy Death Day 2U' misses out on suspense, scares

 
 
Posted2/13/2019 6:00 AM
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  • Tree (Jessica Rothe) makes a chilling discovery in "Happy Death Day 2U."

    Tree (Jessica Rothe) makes a chilling discovery in "Happy Death Day 2U." Courtesy of Universal Pictures

"Happy Death Day 2U" - ★ ★

If 2017's horror comedy "Happy Death Day" seemed like "Scream" meets "Groundhog Day" (as noted by every film critic on the planet), then "Happy Death Day 2U" adds two more meets: "Back to the Future 2" and "Spider-Man into the Spider-Verse."

College student Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) now has more on her mind than finding out who kept killing her in the first movie's endless time loop.

Science nerds at Bayfield University create an energized sphere that opens six dimensions of reality, two fewer than in "Spider-Man into the Spider-Verse."

Each time Tree "dies" and wakes up in the dorm room of boyfriend Carter Davis (Israel Broussard), she can't be sure which dimension she's in, and who's alive or dead.

In one loop, her beloved deceased mom lives, but her boyfriend belongs to bossy sorority sister Danielle (Rachel Matthews), and her best bud Lori (Ruby Modine), killed in the first film, is alive and well.

Decisions, decisions. Which dimension will she stick with?

"2U" piles on the slasher genre complications, sci-fi gibberish and continued attacks by the knife-wielding college mascot in a hoodie and a baby mask, but to diminishing returns.

Forget jump scares. These barely hop.

This suspense-challenged, PG-13-rated sequel, again directed by Christopher Landon, strips the narrative gears while shifting between comedy and carnage.

"2U" has one thing going for it: Rothe's frayed electrical live-wire mash-up of two genre tropes: the trollop from the wrong side of the tracks, and the resourceful, virtuous heroine.

Rothe doesn't just run though this movie, she charges, fueled by outrage against an unjust dimension.

"I am so tired of this ...!" she says.

But because of her, we're surprisingly not.

• • •

Starring: Jessica Rothe, Ruby Modine, Israel Broussard, Rachel Matthews, Phi Vu

Directed by: Christopher Landon

Other: A Universal Pictures release. Rated PG-13 for language, sexual references, violence. 100 minutes

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