Garrett and Carson take a bite out of Dawn of the Dead.
Happy Death Day 2U picks up right where Happy Death Day leaves off… Finally Day 2! If you have not seen the first Happy Death Day, it is a slasher movie that is caught in a time-loop (think Groundhog Day but with a murderer). A baby-masked killer murders college student Tree Gelbman, and she continually wakes up at the beginning of the day she died. Over and over she is killed and starts the same day again until she can unmask the killer and survive the day. Fantastic concept for a horror movie; poor execution. The sequel had the chance to take this concept into so many different directions and learn from the mistakes of it’s predecessor. Unfortunately, Happy Death Day 2U makes all new mistakes and seemingly kills the franchise going forward.
Happy Death Day franchise completely dropped the ball here. They were the first-to-market in the “Horror-Time-Loop” space and they switch genres into a goofy, run-of-the-mill, sci-fi cluster. It focuses more on why there is a time-loop than enjoying being in a time-loop. The audience doesn’t care why there is a time-loop, we just accept that they are in one. Sequels often fall into this trap of over explaining things that we don’t need to know. In the movie series Final Destination, Death is hunting a group of teenagers because they escaped a tragedy. We don’t know or care why they escaped the first time or how Death is chasing them, it just is. And it is fun. Happy Death Day 2U could have had a different person in a time-loop or have Tree stuck in a different time-loop. No explanation needed. As soon as you try to bring in the physics involved in how this could be possible, you lose the focus and interest of why we came. We came for a fun new twist on a horror/slasher genre. We left disappointed.
I am excited for the reboot of this franchise when they get to wipe the slate clean and start from scratch.
Overlord starts with a nearly can’t miss premise: A World War 2 airborne platoon stumbles across some experimental Nazi-Zombie-Monster-Things. What could be better than that setup? The good guys and bad guys are firmly established before you even take your seat. The ultimate evil getting eviler. If you feel like that all sounds vaguely familiar, you probably have played the game Wolfenstein. Other than there is no Hitler in an Iron Man suit to fight at the end, Overlord stays pretty close to the video game story. Maybe they are just saving that for the sequel.
Overlord is made pretty well. It is much more of an actual movie than I had anticipated. It is well shot, well acted, and the effects used to bring the Nazi-Zombie-Monster-Things to life were frighteningly realistic. Although, the balance seemed off for a movie like this. I had hoped for much more of the Nazi-Zombie-Monster-Things and less of the other character development and side plots. Had the script been more original and less straight forward, I could have appreciated this type of an approach. However it wasn’t, so the Nazi-Zombie-Monster-Things needed to be featured earlier and more often for my tastes.
Overlord manages to provide all of the pulpiness of a B-movie grindhouse film while escaping the pitfalls of shoddy effects and terrible acting that usually accompany those movies.
Friday the 13th is a reboot/sequel. It has the same title as the original, however, serves more as a follow up to Mrs. Voorhees’ killing spree. It shows a brief recreation of the events that happen in the original Friday the 13th to introduce Jason’s mother to a new generation. This is origin of our new Jason. This is the genesis of the hockey mask. We are supposed to forget that he ever went hell, or into space, or fought Freddy Krueger. This is a clean slate for the stalker of Crystal Lake.
Friday the 13th is a pretty predictable slasher horror movie. It doesn’t give us anything new, just updated. Instead of killing young adults of the 80’s, we are now killing millennials (which might appeal to some). It is good to see Jason run after his victims. No more silent walks through the woods. It is much more difficult to escape a fast, ax-throwing Jason. I appreciate the reboot sticking to what makes Jason “Jason”, although I had hoped for more of a reimagining of the character and the plot. For someone who has never seen a Friday the 13th movie before, this is a good introduction to the franchise. For those of us who have seen the other 11 movies, this feels a bit of a retread.