**½/**** Image A Sound A- Extras B
starring Dale Midkiff, Fred Gwynne, Denise Crosby, Brad Greenquist
screenplay by Stephen King, based on his novel
directed by Mary Lambert
"Machado would have traded every word, every poem, every verse he ever wrote for one more hour with his beloved. And that is because when it comes to grief, the normal rules of exchange do not apply, because grief transcends value. A man would give entire nations to lift grief off his heart, and yet you cannot buy anything with grief. Because grief is worthless."
-Jefe (Rubén Blades), The Counselor
by Bill Chambers A VICE UK review of the recent Happy Death Day 2U came in for a shellacking on social media because of a click-baity tweet suggesting it was the "first" slasher movie about grief, a claim that only demonstrated a lack of expertise while making a sacrificial lamb of Happy Death Day 2U (which scarcely benefited from the bad-faith attention). Neither the headline nor the subheader of the review itself is as boldly specious, but there in the body of the piece is this: "Christopher Landon's latest, Happy Death Day 2U[,] might be the first slasher that actually centers on dealing with grief." (The headline--"'Happy Death Day 2U' Is More About Grief Than Horror"--nevertheless bothers me, too, incidentally: grief is horror.) So often accused of cynicism because they're formulated to maximize a body count, slashers are engineered to comment on the capricious nature of existence, and the best ones seize on this to acknowledge the toll of loss on the survivors (Black Christmas (1974), Rob Zombie's Halloween II)--while even the most mediocre ones tend to have a killer motivated by a deep and incurable sorrow (see: The Toolbox Murders (1978), the first Friday the 13th).