The lights dim in the sold-out cinema and the audience focuses its attention on the screen, anxious for what awaits it as the new horror film “Happy Death Day” begins.
“It’s the first week of October, so that means that it’s practically Halloween,” said Tamsen Lake, the chair of the Cinematic Arts Commission.
The Bill Cosford Cinema was packed with 160 UM students on Oct. 5 for a free advance screening of the new thriller, written by Christopher B. Landon, who also wrote all four “Paranormal Activity” movies.
“Happy Death Day” tells the story of Tree Gelbman, a college student, who continuously relives her own murder on her birthday. In this new adaptation of the “Groundhog Day” approach, Gelbman attempts to identify her killer, who hides behind a creepy college mascot mask.
Seth Crail, a junior majoring in studio music and jazz, said that the representations of student life, sororities and fraternities were accurate and hilarious. Apart from the murder (thankfully) Lake said he thought the film was relatable for college students.
“While everyone might not be able to personally identify with Tree Gelbman, most will find aspects that resonate with them, as she continuously relives the slightly more dramatic college experience,” Lake said.
The cinematic commission had much success with advanced screenings, especially horrors and thrillers, such as “Get Out” and “The Visit.” “Happy Death Day” was created by the same production company as those two movies, so the Cosford expected a big turn out.
UM students said they appreciated the jumps, scares and eerie music in the movie. The audience screamed in unison throughout the film and broke out into applause at the end. After the screening, guests got free giveaways, such as T-shirts, posters and fidget spinners.
“It’s a good movie, and people should go see it even if they don’t like horror,” Crail said.
“Happy Death Day” will be released in theaters Oct. 13 for anyone who missed the Cosford advanced screening.