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An Analysis: Happy Death Day 2U

I was talking to my boss the other day about a new movie on Hulu, Palm Springs, and how it pays homage to the classic Groundhog Day with Bill Murray. I haven’t seen Palm Springs, but I thought of the movie Happy Death Day (2017), where the main character goes through the same day over and over again. We talked about the sequel (Happy Death Day 2U), and I felt that the sequel was in use of an analysis.  If you haven’t seen the first movie and need a plot summary, here’s my own version, but if you have seen it, then skip this section.

This analysis contains a little bit of swearing and is not like any English papers I’ve written, because this one’s actually for fun. There’s your warning.

Summary of Happy Death Day:

Teresa “Tree”, played by Jessica Rothe (who is a BU alum), wakes up in a random boy’s (Carter, played by Israel Broussard) dorm room after a night of partying. She finds her way back to her sorority house, goes about her day, and it murdered by a mask-wearing killer. She repeats the day until she finds out who’s trying to kill her, and in turn, kills them. Then she lives happily ever after, and it’s assumed she starts dating Carter who helps her each day along the way (while his memory starts over each time). Another thing to mention is that Tree’s mom died before she went to college, and she’s had a tough time relating to her dad since. However, since she’s gone through the same day many times, and her character morally improves (like Bill Murray’s in Groundhog Day), she’s able to address that she needs to work on her relationship with her father, and stops treating him like s***.

(End of summary)

Okay, so Happy Death Day 2U brings in all sorts of new shit. You can totally tell that the first movie went well enough for the producers, directors, etc. thought they could make some more money out of this baby––like Shrek and Star Wars. If you’ve seen this one, skip the summary, but here’s what happens:

Summary of Happy Death Day 2U:

We follow Tree again, but this time, she slips into another dimension where her life is different. Carter, who’s she’s been dating for 5 seconds (actually, it’s either the same or next day from the first movie), is dating her bitchy sorority president instead. As much as she’s hurt by that, the downer is countered by the fact her mom is alive! Carter ends up reliving her original time loop while a new killer is on the loose (which doesn’t make sense if she already killed the killer, ending the original time loop). Every day, she wakes up and tells Carter and his roommate, Ryan, everything that’s happened and they even work on a reactor every day that’s supposed to bring her back to her original dimension. This is just about as much as you need to know.

(End of summary)

I left out this specific part because I wanted to elaborate more on it. In this sequel, Tree is talking to her mom about love. See, Tree has a choice here about whether or not she wants to stay in this new dimension or go back to her old one. In her head, she has to choose between having her mom in her life, or dating this guy she barely knows.

Now, which one would you choose?

iN tHiS eSsAy, I will argue that Tree should have chosen to stay in the alternate dimension. Let me summarize my argument into the following points:

  1. You lost your mom, and now you’re willing to go through it again? I get it, Tree is used to her mom being gone, but this is a wonderful opportunity that’s been handed to her on a silver platter.
  2. SO WHAT Carter’s dating her sorority president? Tree! You! Barely! Know! Him!

2 (a). If Madame President is such a horrible person, and Carter is such a good person, why would Tree feel the obligation to rescue/take him from that relationship? Hey, it takes two, and he voluntarily put himself in it. If they truly don’t belong together, and he still knows Tree, who’s to say they won’t end up together?

2 (b). This could mean Tree’s biggest fear is that her sorority president is a better person than she is, especially if someone as good as Carter is going to choose the president over her (even though Tree and Carter supposedly didn’t really know each other when Carter and the president started dating).

So, I rest my case. The writers of this movie did a horrible job. It would’ve been more meaningful to the story for Tree to have given up Carter for her mom, and then getting the best if both worlds. What if in her first dimension (where her mom is dead) Carter breaks up with her? Or she breaks up with him? You can have many significant others, but you only get one mom. Yes, Tree could’ve made that mistake, but the movie is a comedy and not a tragedy. We’re not changing the genre here.
For those of you saying, “But she knows Carter’s her soulmate!”, the movie in no way hints that fact or if there are “soulmates”. If Tree and Carter were soulmates, then they would’ve either ended up together in the alternate universe, or she would’ve found her other soulmate if for some reason it was different over there.

Also, what will this teach people? Screw your perfect mom who died then came back into your life? And choose some guy you barely know? Society doesn’t need this!

Thank you.

1 Comment

  1. Muffy Ferro

    Both movies sound like I should skip them!

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