Happy Death Day is a 2017 American slasher film directed by Christopher B. Landon, written by Scott Lobdell and starring Jessica Rothe and Israel Broussard. 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.
The film was released on October 13, 2017, by Universal Pictures. It has grossed $36 million worldwide and received generally positive reviews, with critics deeming the film entertaining while acknowledging the familiar premise, as well as praising Rothe's performance, and describing it as Groundhog Day meets Scream.
Theresa "Tree" Gelbman wakes up on Monday the 18th, her birthday, in the dorm room of classmate Carter Davis after a drunken romp the previous evening. Tree goes through the day being self-centred, dismissive and condescending to her fellow 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, and having an affair with her professor Gregory Butler. 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 returning to her sorority 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's 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 murder.
On 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 hospital where she learns she has retained damage from her other murders and is growing weaker. Tree escapes the hospital room only to be chased by her killer until she manages to flee in her car. While driving, she is pulled over by a police officer and volunteers to be arrested in order to be spared but the killer runs down the officer and sets her car on fire, burning Tree to death and sending her through another loop.
Waking up in Carter's bed again, Tree convinces Carter of her predicament by showing that she holds knowledge of the day's events. Tree admits to Carter she doesn't like who she's become; she's 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 Joseph Tombs, a serial killer who is being held in the hospital on her campus. Realizing that Tombs is her killer, Tree rushes to the hospital to warn of his escape. Tombs breaks free and is about to kill Tree but is saved by Carter. Unfortunately, Carter has his neck snapped by Tombs before he chases Tree to the 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 blackout to ambush 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.
However, the next morning Tree wakes up again on her birthday. Confused and distraught over the fact that killing Tombs didn't stop the time loops, Tree returns to her room in order to run away, where Lori offers the cupcake again. Tree realizes that she had died in her sleep; as it was the only time she had ever eaten the cupcake. Tree realizes Lori is the true killer; she had poisoned the cupcake and when Tree didn't eat it, she utilized her job in the hospital to frame Tombs for Tree's murder. Lori comes clean and says this was all a she likes Dr. Butler, who was more into Tree, which Tree thinks is a stupid motive. The two fight and Tree manages to stuff the cupcake into Lori's mouth before kicking her out the window, sending her falling to her death.
Tree and Carter muse over the day's events back in the restaurant, and he offers her his room for the night, also commenting her situation is a lot like the film Groundhog Day. Tree wakes up the next day believing to be in another loop, however it turns out to be a prank by Carter, and the two share a kiss.
The mask it was constructed by Tony Gardner, the same man who built the infamous "Ghostface" mask from every Scream film, and that its design was personal. Landon explains, "During preproduction... I was expecting my first son. I don't know if I just had babies on the brain, or if I was subsconciously scared to become a father, but that baby image was floating around in my head. Tony made us a pig mask, too, but when I wore the baby mask in the office, I scared a co-worker, and we thought... yeah, this is it. This is the one."
Christopher Landon was inspired by films such as Groundhog Day, Scream (1996), Halloween (1978), Sixteen Candles, Back to the Future, E.T. the Extra-terrestrial, The Goonies, Gremlins, An American Tale, Innerspace, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, Black Christmas (1974) and Heathers.
The scenes that Tree awakens in Carter's bed after her death were filmed back to back in a span of two days.
The film was first announced in July 2007, with Megan Fox attached to star. The film was originally titled Half to Death, and was to be produced by Michael Bay. Years later, on October 11, 2016, Blumhouse Productions announced that Jessica Rothe had been cast in the lead role of the film, with Christopher B. Landon writing and directing, and Jason Blum producing. On November 8, 2016, it was announced that Ruby Modine, Charles Aitken and Rachel Matthews had joined the cast, alongside Rothe and Israel Broussard.
As of October 19, 2017[update], Happy Death Day has grossed $30.2 million in the United States and Canada, and $5.2 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $35.4 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.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 68%, based on 80 reviews, with an average rating of 5.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Happy Death Day puts a darkly humorous sci-fi spin on slasher conventions, with added edge courtesy of a starmaking performance from Jessica Rothe." Critics have also noted that although the film makes laudatory attempts at merging genres--including romantic comedy, horror, and "campus satire,"-- the end results are mixed. Jamie East from The Sun likened it to a "slasher Mean Girls," while Chris Agar of ScreenRant observed that the "fun, if silly, blending of genre tropes...ends up being a double-edged sword."   On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 57 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.
Landon talked about the possibility of making a sequel, and that if manage to do it would be why Tree went into a time loop.