Taglines: Get Up. Live Your Day. Get Killed. Again.
After a night of hard-partying and heavy-drinking, the self-centred college student and sorority sister, Tree Gelbman, wakes up on the morning of her birthday with a serious hangover in the dorm of a guy she can’t recall his name. As Tree goes about her day, little does she know that everything that happens now or will happen during the course of the day, is a twisted déjà vu of a reality that repeats itself again and again, until her brutal murder at night by a masked madman. With every repetition, or better yet, resurrection, Tree gets a little bit closer to the identity of her unknown killer, however, figuring out who he or she may be, always ends up with Tree’s death. Wake up, figure out the killer, die, repeat. After all, practice makes perfect.
Happy Death Day is a 2017 American slasher film directed by Christopher B. Landon, written by Scott Lobdell and starring Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, and Ruby Modine. The film was produced by Jason Blum through his Blumhouse Productions banner. It follows a college student who is murdered on her birthday and begins reliving the day over and over again; at that point, she sets out to find the killer and stop her death.
Filming took place at and around Loyola University in New Orleans, Louisiana, and it lasted 5 weeks. The scenes where Tree awakens in Carter’s bed after her death were filmed back to back in a span of two days. The scene after Lori dies was supposed to be at the sorority house, but the filming permit was over before production was able to shoot there, forcing the location to be changed into a Los Angeles diner also featured in another Blumhouse production, Split.
Originally announced in 2007 under the title Half to Death, the film was released on October 13, 2017, by Universal Pictures. It has grossed $115 million worldwide on a $4.8 million budget and received generally positive reviews, with critics deeming the film entertaining while acknowledging the familiar premise, and describing it as “Groundhog Day meets Scream”.
Happy Death Day grossed $55.7 million in the United States and Canada, and $59.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $115.3 million, against a production budget of $4.8 million. In the United States and Canada, Happy Death Day was released alongside Marshall, The Foreigner and Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, and was expected to gross $15–20 million from 3,130 theaters in its opening weekend.
It made $1 million from Thursday night previews at 2,450 theaters, similar to fellow Blumhouse release The Visit ($1.05 million in 2015) and $11.6 million on its first day, increasing weekend projections to $26 million. It went on to debut to $26.5 million, topping the box office, making it the third Blumhouse Productions film of 2017 (after Split and Get Out) to do so. It fell 64% in its second weekend to $9.4 million, finishing in third behind newcomers Boo 2! A Madea Halloween and Geostorm.
About the Story
Theresa “Tree” Gelbman wakes up on her birthday on Monday, September 18, 2017 in the dorm room of classmate Carter Davis after a drunken binge the previous evening. Tree goes through the day being self-centered, dismissive and condescending to her classmates and previous hook-ups, ignoring her father’s invite to a restaurant, throwing away a birthday cupcake given to her by her roommate Lori Spengler, and having an affair with Dr. Gregory Butler, her professor. That night, while going to a party, Tree is lured into a tunnel where she is murdered by a hooded figure wearing a mask of the campus mascot.
Tree wakes up the next morning back in Carter’s bed with the previous day’s events repeating. Unnerved, she relives the day and avoids the tunnel, instead heading to a fraternity house for a surprise party. However, while hooking up with her classmate Nick, the masked killer murders him before killing Tree once more. Tree realizes she is in a time loop and tries to avoid her death by barricading herself in her room. However, she is murdered again when the killer hides in her bathroom.
During the next loop, she relays her story to Carter, who suggests that she take advantage of the loop in order to figure out who her killer is. She spends the next loops trailing several suspected classmates, all of which end in her death as she is stalking the current suspect.
In the next loop after being bludgeoned by a baseball bat from her previous death, Tree passes out shortly after waking up. She awakens in the campus hospital where she learns she has retained damage from her other murders. Tree escapes the hospital room only to be chased by her killer until she manages to flee in Butler’s car. While driving, she is pulled over by a police officer and volunteers to be arrested in order to be spared. While held in the officer’s squad car, the killer runs over the officer, and blows up the squad car after lighting it on fire, sending her through another loop.
Waking up in Carter’s bed again, Tree convinces Carter of her predicament by showing that she holds foreknowledge of the day’s events. Tree admits to Carter she does not like who she’s become; she has also grown distant from her father ever since her mother passed away three years ago and that they had shared the same birthday. Tree catches a local news report on John Tombs, a serial killer who is being held in the hospital on her campus. Concluding that Tombs is her killer, Tree rushes to the hospital to warn of his escape. Tombs breaks free and nearly kills Tree, but Carter follows and rescues her. Unfortunately, Tombs snaps Carter’s neck before chasing Tree to a nearby bell tower where she manages to subdue him with a crowbar. Realizing that Carter will remain dead if she doesn’t restart the loop, Tree hangs herself from the tower.
During the next loop, Tree goes around righting the various wrongs she has caused, ending her affair with Dr. Butler, finally meeting with her dad to resolve her inner grief, and resolving to be a kinder person. That night, she prepares to stop Tombs. He manages to get the upper hand on her until Tree utilizes a campus-wide blackout that occurs during her loops to disarm him and shoot him to death. Relieved to finally be free, she celebrates her birthday in Carter’s room and eats the cupcake given to her by Lori.
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Happy Death Day (2017)
Directed by: Christopher B. Landon
Starring: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Charles Aitken, Laura Clifton, Jason Bayle, Rachel Matthews, Ramsey Anderson, Brady Lewis, Cariella Smith, Tenea Intriago
Screenplay by: Scott Lobdell
Production Design by: Cece Destefano
Cinematography by: Toby Oliver
Film Editing by: Gregory Plotkin
Costume Design by: Meagan McLaughlin
Set Decoration by: Lisa Alkofer, Gretchen Gattuso
Art Direction by: Michelle C. Harmon
Music by: Bear McCreary
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence/terror, crude sexual content, language, some drug material and partial nudity.
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Release Date: October 13, 2017