Film Review: Happy Death Day 2U

It would be difficult to accuse Happy Death Day 2U of being simply a rehash of its predecessor. The film is inventive and a lot of fun.

After breaking the loop, Tree thinks her nightmare is over. However, things are about to get a lot more complicated…

Written and directed by Christopher Landon, Happy Death Day 2U is a sequel to 2017’s Happy Death Day. Rather than follow the formula of the original film, Landon creates a different and expansive plot. The opening gambit works well to suggest more of the same, before turning the narrative on its head. 

Whereas the 2017 film fitted into the horror genre, albeit with a healthy dose of comedy, Happy Death Day 2U flips genres. The film has horror overtones to begin with, before turning into a sci-fi interspersed with comedy. Landon offers a rational explanation to the repeating cycle, and further explores the idea of multiple outcomes. The overt reference to the Back To The Future films underscores the franchise influence in both narrative and genre flipping. 

The film is inventive enough to secure the audience’s attention. Moreover the comedy works well for the most part. In adding a more emotional layer to the narrative, the film loses some of its spark. Although the sense of consequence is necessary, at times this is laid on a little thick. Most of the characters reprise their roles from the first film, with a few new additions. It is a shame that these new characters are not fleshed out, but the emphasis remains on the protagonist. Jessica Rothe delivers a wonderful performance as Tree, showing great range. Israel Broussard offers good support as Carter. Happy Death Day 2U insinuates gore without the need to show the most violent deaths. 

Happy Death Day 2U is smart enough to explore and expand the original film’s premise. The film is an entertaining and imaginative sequel.

Film Review: The Bling Ring

Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring is vacuous but suitably entertaining, much like the subject of the film.

New at school, Marc quickly falls in with a group of friends who are obsessed with celebrities. Their desire to immerse themselves in the lives of celebrities grows, from frequenting the same establishments to stealing from their homes…

Based on the real case of teenagers stealing from celebrities’ homes in Hollywood (albeit with names changed), The Bling Ring is a case of style over substance. There is little to the narrative in terms of momentum.

The Bling Ring is not a dull film, but there is little to it beyond the premise. The set up itself is an interesting, particularly as it is based on a high-profile news story. However, there is little for viewers to real get their teeth into.

The Bling Ring follows trait of earlier Sofia Coppola films with its preoccupation with fame and celebrity. Given the narrative, this is more overt than in some of Coppola’s previous films. The Bling Ring offers a negative depiction of society’s interest in celebrities. Any other judgements are less explicit, although some of the parents do not cme out of it well.

Another theme that materialises is loneliness. Key to Coppola’s Somewhere, it also manifests itself in The Bling Ring. There is certainly a sense of protagonist Marc wanting to fit in. Moreover, there is a certain patheticness to the characters and their obsessions.

The film boasts good casting and performances. Israel Broussard, Katie Chang and Emma Watson are convincing as the teens obsessed with the celebrity lifestyle. Leslie Mann is also decent in a slightly comic role.

Coppola’s film does entertain, but is disappointing in its failure to offer something that is genuinely gripping. The themes it presents are certainly worthy of attention; it is just a shame that The Bling Ring does not leave an indelible mark.