There’s nothing better than a clever take on the classic sci-fi time-loop trope—and that’s what we got in last year’s darkly comic slasher movie, Happy Death Day. We clearly weren’t the only ones who wanted more of the film’s take on deja vu, as evidenced by this week’s brand-new trailer for its sequel, Happy Death Day 2U.
(Spoilers for the first film below.)
If you haven’t seen the first Happy Death Day and want to avoid spoilers, you may want to skip the trailer, since it opens with a recap of the source material. So the sequel should require little to no watching of the first film (though, again, we suggest you do just that).
To wit: college student Theresa “Tree” Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) is murdered on her birthday and finds herself reliving that day over and over—just like Bill Murray’s weatherman in Groundhog Day (or Mulder and Scully in X-Files episode “Monday,” if that’s more up your alley). She takes advantage of the time loop to solve her own murder while dealing with a disturbingly jealous roommate, Lori (Ruby Modine).
I’m not typically a fan of your average slasher movie, with some notable comic-horror exceptions: Cabin in the Woods, Scream, or this year’s You Might Be the Killer. Happy Death Day fit right into that niche with its black humor and genre-mashing use of the time loop trope. The film was overshadowed by the stellar Get Out (both were produced by Blumhouse Productions and released the same year), but it still grossed $ 122 million worldwide against its modest $ 4.8 million budget and received positive reviews.
Director Chris B. Landon knew if he made a sequel, he’d want to focus on why Tree ended up in a time loop in the first place, rather than produce a straight retread. Thus, Happy Death Day 2U picks up two years after the original left off. A mutual friend walks in on Tree and her boyfriend, Carter (Israel Broussard), in his dorm room and says he’s having an extreme case of deja vu. “A day reset when you died?” Tree says. “I might be able to help you.” After all, she has died 11 times already.
She soon discovers that she is back in a time loop, but this time the killer in the creepy baby mask is also coming after her friends. (Ironically, the original killer is among the early victims.) This is a crisis for the sorority: “Who’s gonna pledge Kappa now that we have a death curse?” one of Tree’s sorority sisters complains in pitch-perfect slasher-film fashion. The only way to reset the day and save her friends’ lives is—you guessed it—for Tree to keep dying until the killer is stopped.
That’s where the twist comes in. Some helpful physics students with more over-confidence than common sense think they can reset the day without Tree having to die. Alas, something goes terribly wrong, and she finds herself having to die over and over again to catch the killer in an alternate timeline.
Happy Death Day 2U hits theaters on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2019. Lock this murderous sequel up as a date movie, we suppose.