As concepts for a horror movie go, Groundhog Day-meets-Scream is up there with the most tantalising in recent years.
That’s the enticing premise served up by Happy Death Day as Jessica Rothe’s teenager Tree Gelbman must endure the worst birthday ever; reliving the day of her murder at the hands of a masked killer over and over again.
Director Christopher Landon’s previous two genre efforts – Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse and Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones – left a lot to be desired, but the Californian shows a surer hand behind the camera this time around.
Working from a script from Scott Lobdell – whose only previous big screen work was on little-seen 2005 comedy Man of the House – Landon has created a nasty-but-fun little horror that doesn’t reinvent the wheel but delivers a healthy dose of scares and giggles.
If blood and gore is your thing, though, then best hold off until Jigsaw’s return to cinemas this weekend as Happy Death Day concentrates more on mystery than mayhem.
There are more suspects than even Hercule Poirot could cope with as Tree’s ex-boyfriend Tim (Caleb Spillyards), roommate Lori (Ruby Modine) and professor Gregory (Charles Aitken), along with in-custody serial killer Joseph Tombs (Rob Mello), are among those in the frame for her multiple murder.
On repeatJessica Rothe’s Tree relives her murder every day