The film was a box office hit and was generally well-received by audiences and critics, with most praising Rothe’s performance and the film’s mix of comedy, sci-fi, and horror. And while the story gave closure to the mystery of Tree’s death, it left one big question unanswered: why and how was she trapped in a time-loop? The reason for this lack of explanation is part of Chris Landon’s plans for a sequel which Rothe says will elevate the franchise beyond the horror genre.
In an interview with Collider, Rothe was asked about Landon’s plans for a sequel and if he ever discussed these ideas with her. She explained that his idea is not your typical horror sequel - where they remake the first film with different actors and a slightly different story - and that it would instead give rise to a “Back to the Future type of genre film”:
“Chris has done this incredible thing where the sequel, the way he described it to me, elevates the movie from being a horror movie - and I wouldn’t even say it’s just a horror movie because it’s a horror, comedy, rom-com drama - into a Back to the Future type of genre film where the sequel joins us right from where we left off, it explains a lot of things in the first one that didn’t get explained, and it elevates everything”
Happy Death Day focused on Tree’s attempts to save herself and solve her own murder, with various twists and turns along the film, but never addressed the reason behind the time-loop, which would be the main focus of the sequel. Rothe added that she was pleased to know that the sequel wouldn’t be repeating the same pattern of the first film and is “excited to see if it comes to fruition”, and find out what the final product looks like.
Blumhouse has produced some of the most successful films of the past year alone, including Split and Get Out, which have also helped revive the horror genre, showing that it still has a lot to offer. Happy Death Day brought a refreshing twist to the slasher subgenre with its time-loop element, and if a sequel comes to pass, it will be interesting to see how the filmmakers address this topic without recycling the formula that made the first movie work.
We will bring you more details on Happy Death Day 2 (not the official title) as they become available.