My adult daughter got the entertainment she was hoping for when she accompanied me to a screening of “Happy Death Day.”
I jumped and sort of screamed at one point. Amanda sort of laughed at me. As we both sort of expected.
“I knew you’d do that at least once,” she said, laughing at me some more. “Because you used to do that during ‘The Walking Dead.’”
Years ago, I told her I would no longer watch that show with her if she didn’t stop making fun of me.
It’s not as if “Happy Death Day” was hugely frightening. It’s sort of the horror movie version of “Groundhog Day” — a horror/comedy.
On her birthday, a self-centered, unkind college student, Tree (Jessica Rothe), wakes up in the dorm room of a nice guy, Carter(Israel Broussard), and spends the day treating people badly until she’s stabbed to death by a killer in a mask — and then she wakes up in that same dorm room with that same nice guy on that same day again. And again. And again.
Tree keeps trying to mix things up and avoid getting murdered, and she fails. Repeatedly.
It’s a PG-13 movie, and there’s not a lot of blood. (The only real splatter comes near the end, and it’s successfully played for laughs.) But it does have a good deal of horror-movie tension — you’re waiting for the killer to jump out.
That’s the sort of thing that scares me. A lot.
Don’t tell anybody, but I closed my eyes a few times when the music signaled the killer was on his-or-her way. And there’s an unexpected death that caused me to jump and, ahem, audibly exclaim.
“Yeah, I knew there’d be at least one time. And I knew it’d be loud,” Amanda said.
(Pity my poor co-workers, who have themselves been startled when they tap me on the shoulder and I jump and, ahem, exclaim loudly.)
Amanda likes scary movies. I don’t. She and friends have been known to watch “Saw” movies at my house … and I go upstairs.
Amanda didn’t think “Happy Death Day” was frightening. I did.
“I think people lump scary movies together, but there’s really, like, 12 different kinds of scary movies,” she said. “This was more like a thriller than a scary movie.”
Amanda did allow that the part that startled me so much “probably would have made me jump if I hadn’t seen the preview.”
(I hadn’t seen the preview. And previews sometimes suck because they give too much away, right?)
But we both liked “Happy Death Day.”
“It was way funnier and I liked the characters more than I thought I would,” said Amanda. Along with the entertainment value that came from watching me nearly jump out of my seat.
Amanda has discovered there is more than one way to be entertained at a horror movie. She recently went to see “It” — for the third time — and was less than pleased when three boys who looked to be about 13 years old sat behind her while their adult supervision sat elsewhere in the theater.
“I was annoyed, but it ended up being hilarious,” she said. “They were soooo scared.”
**1/2 Happy Death Day
A college student keeps reliving the day that ends with her being murdered.
Where • Area theaters.
When • Opens Friday, Oct. 13.
Rating • PG-13 for violence/terror, sexual content, language, some drug use and partial nudity.
Running time • 90 minutes.