Blumhouse produces an original and inventive rewinding thriller in Happy Death Day, in which college student Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) relives the day of her murder with both its unexceptional details and terrifying end until she discovers her killer’s identity.
Tree is a blissfully self-centered co-ed whose world revolves around just one person. When she hazily wakes up on the morning of her birthday in the bed of supposed one-night stand Carter (Israel Broussard), she soon discovers that today is anything but ordinary.
Stumbling back to her sorority—and into the expected judgment of roommate Lori (RUBY MODINE) and house president Danielle (Rachel Matthews) — Tree rushes through the routine of an average student. But as she experiences everything from the typical activists on the quad to her office-hours fling with professor Gregory (Charles Aitken), she can’t help but feel that she has seen and lived this day before.
Just when Tree is ready to say goodnight to this bizarre birthday, she is brutally murdered by a masked stranger…only to wake up back in the room of the one person alive who also believes she’s experiencing something eerily impossible.
As Tree daily finds herself daily getting closer to her real killer, she must shed her inhibitions in order to face everyone’s biggest fear. If she succeeds in unmasking her murderer and stopping this madness, she will hopefully end what has become her personal hell. If she can’t, she will be stuck in an insane loop, reliving a ghoulish nightmare that has become her death day.
Joining director Christopher and producer Jason Blum.
Once Landon was presented with the story of Happy Death Day, the director couldn’t help but think of a certain 1993 time-loop classic:
When I read the script, I had the immediate reaction that everybody does:
This is the horror-movie version of Groundhog Day! Why has this not been done before?’” he asks. “That was when the light bulb turned on, because the concept alone was a slam dunk to me—it was just really clever.”
Landon reflects on the challenges of a lead character reliving the same day repeatedly:
When you have to keep experiencing the same day over and over again, it is easy to fall into a trap. We establish the day and then we repeat it, so that the audience and the character understand what is happening. Once we do those things, we immediately take Tree off course. She starts to try to outsmart her own death—and in doing so—the story takes the audience to different places and gives them unexpected experiences.”
Landon offers that what appealed to him about making this project his next one is that the story represents equal parts humor and terror:
Our scares are scares, people definitely jump and scream, but the laughs are big, too. Comedy and horror, even though they make strange bedfellows, have a lot in common. The lay-up for a scare is very similar to the lay-up for a joke. If you are able to find the rhythm where you able to scare and then to make laugh—and continue to rotate between those two things—it is a lot of fun for the audience.”
Be prepared to laugh and scream when Happy Death Day opens on Friday the 13th this October.