The worst part of “Happy Death Day 2U,” the dull yet outlandish sequel to 2017’s “Happy Death Day,” is that it’s not really fun. Instead of delivering the straight-up slasher flick most will be expecting, this movie struggles to find a clear identity. The “Groundhog Day”-esque story runs the gamut from science fiction to familial drama to slapstick comedy. Those seeking horror will be frustrated with its wacky, nerdy slant, ensuring this film will piss off both those in search of scares and those bookish enough to appreciate a smarter sci-fi thriller.
The story picks up where part one left off. Tree Gelbman (the ridiculously charismatic Jessica Rothe) discovers she’s trapped back in the time loop that has her dying over and over (and over) again. With each death brings a new day, and Tree finds herself once again the target of a masked killer when she learns a fellow student has been altering time. When the psychopath starts targeting her friends, she must continue dying in order to save everyone.
The film tries to be funny, but it’s not my style of humor. The attempts at yukks become grating fast and, although it’s a relatively short feature film, it feels as if it drones on for hours. The performances are of soap opera quality, and the direction isn’t far off from that. There’s little original in terms of its convoluted plot about a psycho killer and a vortex time machine. This film is not exactly horror and not exactly sci-fi, and suffers from an identity crisis that will likely alienate audiences.