'Happy Death Day' Is John Hughes With A Side Of Stabbing

Universal — Opening nationwide on Friday

Her suffering comes to an end when a man dressed in all black wearing a baby face mask attacks and kills her. In Happy Death Day, Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) finds herself in just such a situation, on her birthday no less, reliving the same day repeatedly until she can solve her own murder.

That day begins with Tree waking up in the dorm room of nerdy but definitely cute Carter Davis (Israel Broussard) after an assumed one night stand. Chief among them: the New Orleans-shot horror film "Happy Death Day", a sort of slasher version of "Groundhog Day" that is being released, fittingly, on Friday the 13 - and which analysts expect to slay the competition.

It starts with Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe), a sorority sister in desperate need of some sensitivity training, waking up in a unusual college dorm room. Anyone looking to enjoy some scares while trying to figure out a very clever mystery should plan on seeing "Happy Death Day". But each time Tree awakens, she's a bit weaker.

Slasher movies are predicated on such tropes.

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The film also features a creepy killer who covers his identity with a unusual mask. The list is as endless and repeatable as, err, Groundhog Day.

It takes Tree three times getting killed before she realizes she needs to find out who the killer is. Which might explain why the only fun she's shown having is a day she decides to spend walking around campus naked.which? But I might have gone with something like seeing if I could literally eat myself to death at a buffet.

Being released on more than 3,000 screens, the Blumhouse-produced "Happy Death Day" is expected to earn somewhere between $15 million to $20 million in its opening weekend. Her scenes with Israel Broussard grow from awkward to genuinely sweet, and the fate of their romance becomes more vital than figuring out who the killer is, especially after multiple red herrings are tossed our way.

A lot of credit for "Happy Death Day" being worth seeing again and again is the performance by Rothe ("Mary + Jane"). It's John Hughes with a side of stabbing.

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