Happy Death Day was around a decade in the making from original script to cinematic release. It has blended several cinematic tropes to create something fresh with wide audience appeal.

The first theme is the Groundhog Day experience of reliving the same day over and over to try and fix something wrong. The “something wrong “ is Tree the protagonist’s murder around the same time every night. Tree awakens every morning with a bit more knowledge about who isn’t the murderer but her body is gradually weakened by each encounter.

The second genre is the teenage slasher movie where the loose moralled blonde is going to be killed off. And, dear reader, she is – over and over again.

Unlike Bill Murray, most of what Trey does is not to become a better person but in one iteration we think she might have cracked it as she ends up being nice to everyone around her.

The film also explores the vacuous world of American college dorms; sorority sisters retaining their mean girl high school personas. Is it possible to be nice in Mean Girl Land?

Add into the mix, death and loss and familial grief – oh and an escaped convict and there you have it.

An alternative ending didn’t play well to test audiences but perhaps it is the better ending. The current ending is theatrical and sets up the possibility of a sequel, according to the director.


Directed by Christopher B. Landon
Produced by Jason Blum
Written by Scott Lobdell
Music by Bear McCreary
Cinematography Toby Oliver
Edited by Gregory Plotkin
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
  • October 13, 2017(United States)
Running time
96 minutes
Country United States
Language English