Complete A-Z list

Happy Death Day


Stars: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Charles Aitken, Rachel Matthews, Jason Bayle, Phil Vu, Cariella Smith

Director: Christopher Landon

Another week, another shocker, the sole cinematic genre that has managed to survive the passage of time and adapt to mutating moviegoer tastes with inspired (and all too often not-so-inspired) spates of gore, monsters and magnificently silly scary storylines.

Genres weaken but horror movies, despite the apparently never-ending slew of sequels and remakes ad lib have happily proved to be hardy.

Laurels are due here for an ingenious nerve-scraper that sees luckless US university student Tree Gelbman facing repetitive nights of terror during which she is hideously murdered time after time only to wake up the next day in the room of fellow student Broussard, and then die again every night until finally foiling her sadistic serial killer...

While admitting 'This is the horror movie version of Groundhog Day', director Landon delivers a fast moving, sure-fire shocker which, using Scott Lobdell’s ingenious screenplay to create unnerving and escalating suspense (the riffs on Gelbman's ever-changing daily walks through the college campus are particularly effective and still thrill, while also injecting unanticipated comedy with plenty of sly send-ups of American undergrads and their Hollywood-friendly campuses.

The nightly murders are ingeniously non-repetitive, familiar faces add impact and, happily, despite her first name, Rothe's Gelbman is far from wooden as the terrified but determined to survive heroine, in a compelling, happily unpretentious low-budget shocker that could possibly end up as a minor genre classic.

Alan Frank

USA 2017. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour.
96 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 2, Swearing 2.

Review date: 22 Oct 2017