The most used tagline I’ve seen used for this film is “Scream meets Groundhog Day.” While that pretty accurately sums up the plot, this film has neither the horror nor the comedy to work.
Theresa , or “Tree” as she is known, is your run-of-the-mill sorority mean girl. It’s her birthday, but instead of the usual celebrations with friends she is forced to re-live running from, and eventually being killed by a murderer in a creepy mask, only to wake up and go through it again and again. Instead of having fun with what is a interesting premise, this film instead relies on clichés that would even make the most timid of movie-goers roll their eyes, never mind horror fans.
Since we’re aware of the film’s format so early on, none of the deaths have any impact. And this isn’t helped by the fact that most of the characters are as two-dimensional as the college brochure they were cut out of. This isn’t to say that using stock-characters in slasher films is bad, it can work, but this film’s complete lack of gore (thanks to a PG13 rating) means that the deaths aren’t at all entertaining or over the top, like in the ‘Final Destination’ franchise. Another problem with the film is that it relies so much on its “Groundhog day” gimmick that the actual plot of the film just ends up being a half-assed “who done it” which then turns into a really rushed “mean girl must change her ways” plot. It then turns into a sub-par action movie, with one of the worst motivations for a slasher-movie villain I’ve ever seen.
This film clearly doesn’t know what it wants to be or even who it is aiming for. It’s not scary or gory enough for horror fans and it lacks the “so bad it’s good” quality to attract B-Movie fans. The film’s incredibly bright colour palette and sense of “humour” feels like its aimed at 12-year-olds at a sleepover. On the comedy side, the film has one or two well delivered lines, with a joke about Crocs being the only one that got an audible laugh from the audience.
All in all, if you’re looking for a good horror comedy for Halloween this bland and forgettable movie is at best a Netflix watch and even then, I wouldn’t put it on my “to watch” list. If you want a good horror-comedy check out movies like ‘Tucker and Dale vs Evil’or the criminally underrated ‘The Final Girls‘ or, just watch ‘Scream.‘
Director: Christopher Landon.
Starring: Jessica Rothe, Isreal Broussard, and Charles Aiken.