We recommend our top five picks to watch after you’ve seen this time-loop mystery sequel.
I’m not going to lie, I expected Happy Death Day to be bad. I thought it would be an extremely campy horror film that used overdone tropes of both the horror genre and time-loop stories. I’m glad I was wrong. Similarly I thought that its sequel, Happy Death Day 2U, would be a cheap ripoff of the original with no new ideas to keep it fresh. Thankfully, I was also wrong about that as well.
For this week’s list of movie recommendations, I’ve looked at the three elements of Happy Death Day 2U that made it most successful to me: it’s time-loop mystery, horror elements and strong characters. These films aren’t cinematic masterpieces by any means, but they certainly quench the craving that Happy Death Day 2U might leave you with after two hours of edge-of-your-seat, timey-wimey thrills.
First up on our list is a film that feels a little too similar in our books. It follows the story of a college student who is stuck reliving the same day where she is brutally murdered by a stranger. Aside from the alternate dimensions, these premises are nearly identical. Similar protagonists, stories, horror elements, atmosphere. The only difference is that this film does not have is Babyface giving Death Day a slight edge. If you enjoyed Happy Death Day 2U‘s story, characters, horror, style, tone, themes or atmosphere then you might like Salvage.
BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II (1989)
An oldie, but a goodie, this one is a classic of the time travel genre. It follows the story of Marty McFly who must repeat his visit to 1955 to avoid changes to the 1985 timeline after he travels forward to 2015 and sees his own future. The alternate realities and time travel bring the same sci-fi elements, but that isn’t where the similarities end. The themes, tone and even the comedy fit the lighthearted style of Death Day’s college-centric story. If you enjoyed Happy Death Day 2U‘s story, tone, themes or atmosphere then you might like Back to the Future Part II.
RUSSIAN DOLL (2019-)
Okay now this one isn’t a film, but it’s still a damn good choice for this list. It follows the story of a cynical young woman who keeps dying and returning to a party being thrown in her honour. Again it follows the time-loop storytelling and has a strong female lead, but this series is most similar in its tone. The dark comedy that emerges from this protagonist’s cynicism is instantly comparable to Tree’s predicament and the hilarious situations she is forced into. If you enjoyed Happy Death Day 2U‘s story, tone, themes or atmosphere then you might like Russian Doll.
BEFORE I FALL (2017)
Another time-loop film, although this one has a deeper message at its core. It follows the story of a young woman who dies and relives her last day over and over questioning if her life was truly as perfect as it seemed. The similarities are surface deep between these two films as with many on this list. However, the desire to tackle deeper themes is one that both of these films have making for some surprisingly touching moments. If you enjoyed Happy Death Day 2U‘s story, characters, themes, tone or atmosphere then you might like Before I Fall.
The final film on our list is most likely one of the biggest influences on Death Day’s horror story. It follows the story of a teenage girl who is terrorized by a killer that targets her social circle with a deadly game surrounding horror films. The mysterious masked killer stalking a young woman is a staple of the horror genre. What makes it better is when the woman finds the strength to fight back and defeat her murderer. While Scream’s heroine only has one try to get it right, that doesn’t make Death Day’s intense horror sequences any less frightening. If you enjoyed Happy Death Day 2U‘s horror, tone or atmosphere then you might like Scream.
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