Cinematic Releases: Deja Deja Vu: Happy Death Day 2 U (2019) Reviewed

Alita has her work cut out for her this weekend as she'll do mortal battle with the second entry in a franchise that's just getting started. Returning to college for another match of wits against a knife wielding Bayside baby, there's not too much to complain about here as the entire cast comes back for a part two that has the building blocks for several more feature flicks. 

It's Valentine's Day week 2019 and here we are again. The same characters return for another new adventure that finds itself on repeat, upping the ante of the first film, even if it replaces most of the slasher aspect of the original with a new movie that introduces more science fiction into a slightly confusing multidimensional take about college kids experiencing their very own Groundhog's Day. Unlike many second parts, this one feels mildly fresh and doesn't spin its wheels. Instead, it kicks right off with a game changer and never falls back on it laurels by becoming anything less than totally ludicrous but absolutely a blast that makes the first even better. How many times can you say that about a part two? Barely ever. Almost never. 

HDD2U is one of the few refreshing sequels that pokes humor at its predecessor and also goes sideways with its new chapter. Considering the idea here is deja vu and living the same day over again, audiences won't feel that this is a spitting image of the first. Instead, most will see that they really tried to create a hard dynamic side step that keeps the two movies as totally separate entities that just so happen to be in the same day and universe without relying too heavily on boring repetition. Changing genres was the smartest thing they could do. Digging deeper into a new story that introduces alternate timelines and extremely likable support players with excellent comedic timing. 

Happy Death Day 2 U picks up exactly where the first left off, but gives us more background for the side character, Ryan. This time around, the plot gets way more layers and totally bonkers dimension play as we finally find out how and why the first movie even took place. Serving as a continuation/sequel that builds upon the goofy mythology that already exists, this one is another sweet concoction that spends way more time on involving the audience in figuring out the hows, the whys, and some actual background for characters we knew very little about. In fact, this one trades up the kills for more comedy, more thrills, and tons of pop culture references that die hard genre fans will pick out in an instant. It honestly feels like they were having way more fun making this one because it's not quite as self serious as the last. 

Honestly, the more I think about it, the more I loved this movie. It crosses so many different elements into one 95 minute movie and does it with intelligence and wit that never feels forced or convoluted. This is just a great time at the movies that requires a bit of thinking with a load of laughter and sincere work on the part of the director and his youthful cast. If you loved the first, you'll dig this one too. 

-Chris George