Happy Death Day (CMYK)-01

Hidden Themes in Happy Death Day


By Quianna Adams, Staff Writer

“Happy Death Day” is a horror-comedy that premiered at the top spot of the box office this past weekend. It is about a college co-ed who relives her “death day” until she discovers her murderer’s identity. The movie offers thrill and suspense to keep the viewer engaged throughout the film, but just enough comedy to make it stand out from the average ‘scary’ movie.

I noticed that the producers of this film were responsible for popular movies such as “The Purge” and “Get Out” –  both films I enjoyed. I knew that this film had to have an underlying meaning and it wasn’t just a simple murder mystery film.

Throughout the movie I began to sense familiar themes. The themes that I recognized are ones that we have all heard at some point in our lives.

Patience Is Key

Happy Death Day was produced on a budget of $5 million and it received $26.5 million during its debut weekend. It is a microbudget film from Blumhouse Productions, the production company that brought us “Split,” “The Visit,” “Paranormal Activity,” and “Insidious.”

Nearly nine years ago, a script was presented to the director of this movie, Christopher Landon, and he loved the concept. He made adjustments and sent the final draft to Hollywood producers. The script was shut down and never looked at again until last year. After casually being asked about the script over a lunch date, Landon thought of an old friend, Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions, and sent him the script. Blum and his associates loved the concept of this film, and so did Universal Pictures.

You Get What You Give

Most people believe that what goes around comes around. The energy that you exude will be the same energy that you receive back from the universe.

While watching the movie, I noticed that the main character, Tree, was self-centered and rude to many of the other characters. She became paranoid after learning that her killer was someone that she knew. In that moment she realized how badly she treated others without regard for their feelings.

The theme that I noticed here was ‘what goes around comes around’. The lesson is simple: treat others how you would like to be treated in return not only because it’s a good thing to do, but also because you never know who you might need assistance from in the future.

Stay True To Yourself

Tree was a college student and also a member of a sorority. As mentioned above, Tree was very self-centered and snobbish in the beginning, but as the movie continued she began to realize that she was no longer her real self. She became a new person after joining the sorority and recognized that if her mother was still alive today she would not be happy with the person that Tree had become. Tree began to correct her mistakes during her final days and became more accepting of others that she did not normally socialize with.

The theme that I connected to this scenario was ‘be true to yourself’. You should not have to change your beliefs, values, and attitude in a negative way to be a part of any group. Having a different perspective and personality is what makes us all unique. No one should befriend a person who tries to compromise their authentic self.


A recurring phrase that I noticed in the movie was “today is the first day of the rest of your life.” Each time Tree was killed, she was granted a fresh start to be a better person and ultimately find her killer.

Unlike Tree, we do not have multiple chances to relive the same day and correct our mistakes. We get one day to do our best and if we happen to make a mistake, we have to believe that we will use the next day to make up for that mistake. It is important for us to take advantage of each day by being our authentic selves, being nice to others, and by having confidence and patience in our present actions and goals.

Graphic by Billy Ferguson