Happy Birthday to Me (1981)

directed by j. lee thompson
the canadian film development corporation/famous players ltd.

Rather preposterously set in a “high school” (none of the major student roles is played by anyone under 18, or particularly close), this picture presents an extremely convoluted resolution to an otherwise straightforward, standard horror movie. Sure, as you watch, you know you’re being set up for the SHOCKING ending – hell, the filmmakers tease you with various false reveals along the way – but even so, once all the layers are peeled away, you feel a little incredulous. Skeptical, even. I mean, it all seems like WAY too much trouble for a touch of retribution. The red herrings from the production team combine with similar trickery from the characters themselves to create a film that overall is a bit too intricate. It’s also a bit too long. And in spite of all that, to pull off the ruse, they still had to cheat.

why did i watch this movie?

I felt as though I had a general notion of this flick’s plot and setting, but this turned out not to be the case. Maybe I was thinking of April Fool’s Day? Wait, maybe that’s not much different.

should you watch this movie?

After a certain point, revealing that these ’80s flicks have a quintessential Eighties nature to them isn’t really enough, is it.

highlight and low point

I won’t say the ending is a letdown, exactly, but it’s so, so contrived that it does come as a disappointment, especially given how long it takes to get there and all the different options it discards as it develops.  Nothing in the film notably presents itself as an asset, either.

rating from outer space: c−

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