The meaning of the slasher Happy Death Day (2017) or how not to die on your birthday. Happy Death Day is a classic time loop horror film. This is a slasher with elements of black comedy. According to the plot of the film, the main character Teresa is forced to die on her birthday. To stop this, she needs to uncover the killer’s identity.
If you haven’t seen the trailer for the movie yet, check it out.
The meaning of the film Happy Death Day
At first glance, the slasher looks like another attempt to replicate the success of Groundhog Day. By the way, at the end of Happy Death Day, the characters talk about this film. Turns out Teresa didn’t watch it.
However, when watching Happy Death Day, we see not only a time loop, but also a life drama. The heroine of the film, Teresa, lives monotonously: her every day is similar to the previous one. Therefore, she is constantly in a state of deja vu.
The girl has no close friends, stable relationships. She likes to relax at student parties with strangers. Teresa, or as her friends call her, Trish is part of a female company that is fanatically up to beauty standards. In one of the episodes, we see a girl being bullied because she eats.
This persecution was arranged by Danielle, the head of the sorority. This girl arranged a real dictator in the hostel: she managed the daily routine, distributed duties. And no one in society even tried to argue with Daniel, because everyone knew her character. If someone harmed the head, then he is ready for public humiliation, persecution.
However, Trish stood up for the girl that Danielle made fun of. She went against the established system, argued with the main bitch of the college. The heroine was aware that the consequences of her act could be terrible. Danielle could get Trish out of the dorm, complain about her to the administration, or bully her. But the girl was ready for such an outcome.
In fact, the main character has no meaning in life. Trish has no people who would be dear to her. However, at the end of the film, after numerous rebirths, she rethinks her life. Trish reconciles with her father, whom she has long ignored. She also starts a relationship with an inconspicuous guy Carter, whom she had not noticed before.
Let’s talk more about the time loop that Trish changed.
Throughout the film, we see the evolution of the girl’s personality. She doesn’t change in order to survive. Trish reflects because she remembers the possibility of imminent death. She realizes that she has done nothing good for people, and this scares her.
Perhaps the numerous time loops are similar to a kind of Purgatory. In each of the deaths, the girl tries to realize what she is doing wrong. Trish is trying to find the killer, trying to improve relations with friends, help people.
Through the time loop, she learns about the true attitude of people towards her. Many insult her directly in the face, openly mocking. Others, like her friend Lori, hide behind a mask of virtue.
Previously, Trish did not realize her loneliness, considered herself the soul of the company. Because of the loop, the girl realized that after death no one would remember her. When Trish was making a list of possible killers, she realized how many people hate her.
Trish’s time loop is like a game that has a pool of lives. However, they are not endless – after visiting the doctor, the heroine realizes that each resurrection can be the last. So Trish decides to fight for her life. She wants to prove that she deserves a second chance. After everything she’s done, Trish hopes to start her life over again.
Let’s talk more about the evolution of the heroine’s personality. In the beginning, we see a typical teenager who does not communicate with his parents. The girl ignores her father, she has no close friends. The heroine is lonely, and she understands this. The only friend – Lori, turns out to be a maniac in a mask. It’s a two-way situation: Trish is upset by her friend’s betrayal, but glad that the loop is over.
Trish is dating her teacher, who has a wife. Before the time loop, she hadn’t been bothered by the fact that she was his mistress. But after several resurrections, the heroine breaks up with a married teacher. The girl strives to become the best version of herself, to correct all her mistakes.
Trish reconnects with her father. She supports him, hoping to find support in him. Interestingly, the viewer is not revealed how Trish stopped communicating with her father. It is possible that this was due to the death of the mother. The heroine could blame her father for this.
At the very beginning of the film, we see the quote “Today is the first day of my life.” This is symbolic, because the girl dies on her birthday. The universe has given Trish a chance to start over, to try to change her personality.
You can only change the world around you by starting with yourself. But Trish unsuccessfully tries to change everyone around. The heroine quickly realizes that without self-development, changes in others are impossible. The girl goes through Hell, dying and resurrecting several times in a row.
After that, Trish changes: she ceases to be an arrogant bitch that everyone hated. Death here acted as a kind of purification that changed the heroine. She transformed and began to change the people around her.
7 deadly sins
There is a theory that Trish committed the 7 deadly sins during the loop. It was after them that the girl came to purification – the end of the cycles.
The first sin is pride. At the very beginning of the film, the heroine is approached by the guy with whom she met. He tries to talk to Trish, but she rudely rebuffs him. Then, in one of the cycles, the girl helps the guy to accept his orientation. She supports him, advises him to be himself. Thus, she conquers pride.
The second sin is lust. Trish is dating a married teacher. She bursts into his work, throwing kisses at him. However, in the loop, the heroine leaves the teacher, advising him to pay attention to his wife. So the girl conquers lust.
The third sin is gluttony. This happens when Trish brings a tray of food to lunch. She later eats a poisoned cupcake from her friend. In other cycles, Trish tries not to overindulge in food, often refusing it.
The fourth is greed. The sin manifests itself in the fact that at the very beginning of the film the heroine does not evaluate her capabilities in any way. She is wasting her chances in life on pointless attempts to save herself. Trish hoped her lives would never end, but they didn’t.
After visiting the hospital, the girl realized that she would die soon. Trish stopped wasting her resurrections, so she started looking for the killer.
The fifth sin is anger. When the girl arrives at her dorm, she hits the man in the killer’s mask. But it turns out to be a guy who came to her birthday party. The girl continues to be angry even at the time of the maniac’s death. However, at the end of the film, she calms down due to the end of the loop.
The sixth sin is envy. The heroine is jealous of Carter, who wakes up after the resurrections. Trish tells him her story about the time loop. She envies him, because he does not feel death on him. Carter is also involved in the loop, but does not die like Trish on a daily basis. The girl overcomes this sin when she completes a series of repetitive cycles.
The seventh is despondency. We see him when the heroine is once again reborn. She does not believe that she died a second time. Trish overcomes this sin when she finds her killer – neighbor Laurie.
It was the struggle with these sins that led the heroine to close the time loop. The cycle made Trish a different person, made her rethink her life.
Reviews from critics
Most reviews from critics are mixed-positive. The film has a 71% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 135 reviews. The short tagline reads: “Happy Death Day” looks like a dark comedy and sci-fi interpretation of the slasher film, with the advantage of Jessica Roth’s acting.
The reviewer for Cinema Blend praised the slasher for its genre change:
“Happy Death Day” worked more like a horror film with a comedic twist, while “Happy New Death Day” moves into the realm of science fiction, and it mixes with horror. It’s an exciting ride and game with familiar trappings.
“Happy New Day of Death” is a sequel to the film that tells about the origin of the time loop.
In The Hollywood Reporter, critics reacted positively to the film, but did not appreciate the humor of the dilogy.
With such an amazing and promising start, some of the fun eventually fades, but that doesn’t mean Happy Death Day won’t do well enough at the box office to warrant the new part promised in the post-credits scene.
Reviewers from Variety shared that “Happy Death Day” continued the “Scream” tradition.
By this they wanted to show everyone sufficient thoughtfulness and breadth of knowledge. But if you go back to the first two Screams, then remember how they managed to create their own reality then, without sacrificing the tension that is important for a slasher. These were nerve-wracking thrillers that always surprised us.
Due to the success of the first film, a sequel titled Happy New Death Day was released in 2019. In it, Carter’s friend Ryan fell into a time loop. The hero, along with Trish, tried to free himself from the cycle.
Also in the sequel, we learned where the time loop comes from. In fact, it arose from experiments with a reactor that created several parallel universes. Thus, the film has a sci-fi foundation.
However, Happy New Death Day was not as successful as its predecessor. The creators have said that there will be no third film. Have you watched the acclaimed slasher “Happy Death Day”? Write in the comments.