Murder cycle returns in Happy Death Day sequel
WHEN Israel Broussard talks about exploring new dimensions in the sequel to Happy Death Day, he's not being figurative.
The American actor returns alongside Jessica Rothe, Ruby Modine, Rachel Matthews and Phi Vu in director Christopher Landon's Happy Death Day 2U.
Described as Groundhog Day meets Scream, the Blumhouse-produced horror comedy centres on college student Theresa "Tree'' Gelbman (Rothe), who must relive the day of her murder over and over again in a loop that only ends when she discovers her killer's identity.
The new film expands on the concept of the original. This time, Tree's not the only one trapped in a time loop and discovering another dimension of reality in which her life is eerily different.
"Honestly I was a little worried (because) it's hard to do a sequel," Broussard says. "I didn't know where you could take it after the first one. When I read the script it was a little kooky and wacky but if anyone could tackle it I knew it was Chris.
"He really made a second one that respects the whole concept of Happy Death Day but takes it and turns it into a completely different movie.
"We had a better idea of what movie it would be because we had the first one as a blueprint. Then when we got on set and started filming, it all fell into place naturally. It was about trying to respect what dimension and what day we were in."
Broussard, a native of Mississippi, got his big break in Sofia Coppola's crime film The Bling Ring (2013) and went on to star in the drama Perfect High (2015), the thriller H8RZ (2015) and the comedy Good Kids (2016) before landing his role in Happy Death Day.
His character Carter is a classmate and love interest for Tree.
But just as they're figuring out their relationship status in one dimension, it's a little more complicated in the other.
"We definitely wanted more emotional depth in this one," he says. "Carter was a bit of a moral compass in the first one, but more of a good guy just trying to help.
"In this one he's seeing somebody he cares about doing something that just doesn't feel right. He's not the kind of guy to just let that slide.
"I like the fact that he stands up for himself and for Tree when he feels like she's about to make a stupid decision.
"There's definitely an attraction in this other dimension between the two of them, and playing around with that energy was a lot of fun."
Broussard jumped at the chance to work with producer Jason Blum and the team behind Get Out, Insidious and Split.
"I'd been auditioning for a few of their projects for a couple of years ... so when I got this I was very happy and grateful," he says.
"They're a very respectful company; I think that's important these days.
"They give a lot of freedom to their directors and actors."
But surprisingly, he's not a horror fan.
"I would never sit there by myself watching Silence of the Lambs; that not me. I'm a bit of a wuss when it comes to all that but the interesting thing about making scary-type films is it puts my mind at ease. I can go 'OK it's a movie'.
"It's fun watching my mum watch these movies. She's not good in scary movies and when she saw the first one she couldn't handle it. I've been telling her this one is not as scary. It will trip her up and make her cry - that's what we're aiming for."
Happy Death Day 2U opens in cinemas tomorrow.
STARS: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Phi Vu, Suraj Sharma, Rachel Matthews.
DIRECTOR: Christopher Landon