No, you’re not dreaming and no, this isn’t a case of déjà vu: Happy Death Day is coming back to theaters on February 13. Well, technically it’s Happy Death Day 2U, the sequel to the 2017 film, that’s hitting theaters soon. The set-up for the second installment will feel eerily familiar to the first except for one key question: Who is the Happy Death Day 2U killer this time around?
The premise of Happy Death Day sounds like the love child of Groundhog’s Day and Scream: our hero, college student Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe), wakes up on her birthday and at the end of the day, as she is en route to her surprise birthday party, she is murdered by a masked killer. Tree keeps waking up on the morning of her birthday and is forced to relive the day in hopes that she will uncover the identity of her killer and hopefully kill them before they kill her. As Tree goes through each repeated day, she also tries to fix other wrongs in her life, be it her fractured relationship with her father, being a better friend to her sorority sisters, or trying to get out of a tricky and toxic affair with her married professor, Gregory Butler (Charles Aitken).
With Happy Death Day 2U set to follow almost exactly the same premise — Tree wakes up on her birthday and has to figure out who wants to kill her, but this time, the killer also is out to kill everyone else that she cares about — there’s the tricky question of figuring out who has a motive to kill Tree and her friends, which now includes Lori (Ruby Modine), Tree’s roommate and her killer in Happy Death Day 2U.
A New Killer Is On The Loose
Based on the trailer, we can guess that Lori might not be the killer or even the lone killer that she was confirmed to be at the end of Happy Death Day 2U. We see a handful of shots in the trailer where Lori is offed in a gruesome way, implying that she’s just as much a victim of the new killer as Tree and her friends. With Lori off the potential killer list, the list of suspects is wide open once more. While there are no hints about whether or not past potential suspects, like Butler’s wife (who would have the motive to kill Tree for being involved in an extramarital affair with her husband), will be seen in Happy Death Day 2U, expect there to be some interesting candidates for being the killer with Lori out of the way. Come to think of it, given the fact that we get a look at the return of Tree’s shady friend and sorority president Danielle (Rachel Matthews), maybe we put her at the top of the list; it feels like she’d have a killer instinct if given the motive.
Is The Killer Someone Tree Knows?
This brings us to the tricky question: Is the killer someone Tree knows? Chances are good that Tree knows who her killer is the second time around, but it’ll be tough to deduce who that could be since most of the characters returning for Happy Death Day 2U are characters we met in Happy Death Day. Most of the returning characters are fairly harmless and have been presented without a motive to kill. It would be pretty wild to see a character like Tree’s love interest, Carter (Israel Broussard), do an about-face and start killing off his friends unless there was a very good reason. Then again, considering Happy Death Day liked to take a cheeky, near-meta approach to the way Tree attempted to find her killer, there could be a reversal of expectations and the actual killer will be someone who was under our noses the entire time.
Could The Killer Be Linked To The Time Loop?
One thing that Happy Death Day failed to address and which Happy Death Day 2U seems ready to address is why Tree is stuck in this time loop. We’re never told why it’s happening to Tree (there’s no magical curse, no karmic retribution, nada) in the first place nor why Tree was the one magically chosen to suffer dying multiple times. Add to this the fact that Tree can’t seem to escape the time loop and you’ve got to wonder: are the time loop and the killer connected somehow? Is the reason why Tree keeps getting sucked back into the loop because the killer isn’t done with her yet? It certainly can’t be because Tree needs to become a better person; she tried that in Happy Death Day and she’s back at square one by the time the sequel rolls around. We know that Tree enlists the help of a friend and/or new ally, Samar (Suraj Sharma), to build a device that will help her reset the time loop so she can keep her friends from dying before the killer gets to her. It stands to reason Samar might have intel on the time loop they’re trapped in or who could be messing with it in order to kill Tree. At any rate, keep this option, wherein the killer and the time loop are somehow linked, open; there’s probably more to this than meets the eye.
Basically, the identity of the Happy Death Day 2U killer is anyone’s guess at this point. Yes, there are some solid new candidates in play (we’re looking at you, Danielle) but there’s an even better chance that this film is going to throw a surprising new candidate our way. It’s probably best that you go into this movie keeping tabs on every character, old and new, and expect this film to take you to some pretty interesting places.
Stay safe out there, Tree, because Happy Death Day 2U looks like it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Happy Death Day 2U arrives in theaters Feb. 13. Get your tickets here.
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