Follow TV Tropes


Film / Happy Death Day

Go To

Carter: The way I see it, you have an unlimited amount of lives. Unlimited opportunities to solve your own murder.
Tree: So I'm supposed to keep dying until I figure out who my killer is?
Carter: You want to live to see tomorrow, right?

Happy Death Day is a Slasher Comedy Movie released on October 13, 2017. It was directed by Christopher B. Landon and written by Scott Lobdell.

Teresa "Tree" Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) is a college student who finds herself endlessly reliving her birthday over and over again. It begins with her waking up in a random guy's bed after drinking, and ends with her getting murdered by a masked man. After realizing what is going on, she attempts to figure out the masked man's identity and motives and prevent her death, but it won't be easy.

A sequel has been announced. The title was eventually revealed to be Happy Death Day 2U. Tree finds herself in another time loop and facing a new killer who is going after her and all her friends.

Previews: Trailer, International Trailer.


Happy Death Day contains examples of:

  • Above the Influence: Carter vehemently denies taking advantage of a wasted Tree the previous night.
  • Action Girl: Tree slowly evolves into this after the constant loops.
  • Adult Fear: The idea of age yielding diminishing returns. Every death causes Tree to feel physically weaker and takes a toll on her body, forcing her more and more to rely on experience and the wit that it brings. Tree's confidence in herself reaches zigzagging highs and lows as a result as she even begins to react to Carter's "Today is the first day of the rest of your life" bumper sticker on his door with existential annoyance on occasion.
  • Alpha Bitch: Tree's sorority is full of these, and she's one of them at first. Danielle is the biggest example.
  • An Aesop: Running away from your problems solves nothing.
  • Asshole Victim: In the penultimate loop, Tree tracks down and kills John Tombs. In the previous loop, she had also hit him with a crowbar. Unfortunately, the loop still resets, meaning in the end he survives.
    • In the final loop, when Tree realises Lori is the real killer, she force-feeds her the poisoned cupcake she had initially tried to kill Tree with, then kicks her out of the window to her death.
  • Backstabbing the Alpha Bitch:
    • Once Tree decides to be nice, she eats junk food like fries, pours chocolate milk on the head of her sorority's president Danielle and kisses Carter who was called a douchebag by Danielle in front of all sorority members minus Danielle, much to their delight. Prior to this in at least one loop, she openly flirts with (as in kisses in full view) Danielle's boyfriend at a party and very nearly beds him, with it being implied that she has done this before.
    • In a literal sense, Lori is betraying her bitchy roommate and killing her, mostly through sharp objects. Too bad said roommate is not staying dead.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In the second loop at the party, Danielle angrily texts Tree, demanding to know if Tree is with Nick. Tree lies and says no, and after a few insults between them, Danielle texts back, saying, "I hope you both die!" She never founds out, but at that moment, the killer is stabbing Nick to death and later does the same thing to Tree.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Subverted and then, double-subverted. Lori is the only "friend" Tree has who genuinely seems to care enough about her to remember and celebrate her birthday, but Tree repeatedly refuses to eat the cupcake she made, which forces Lori to kill Tree multiple times, in increasingly painful ways.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: In her few appearances, Lori is depicted as one of the genuinely kindest characters in the film, being the only one to really care about Tree’s birthday and made her a cupcake from scratch to prove it. Hell, she’s so nice that Tree doesn’t even put her on the list of suspects. But unfortunately for her, Lori IS the killer, and that homemade cupcake was the originally intended murder weapon.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": One of the first things we hear in every loop is a faded out-of-tune saxophone in another dorm room, followed by a boy's voice shouting "Shut up!"
    • Tree gives four of these to her phone at the start of the fourth loop before throwing it across the room.
  • Big "YES!": Tree lets out a loud "YEAH!" as part of her "Hell, Yes!" Moment after escaping from the hospital.
  • Birthday Hater: Tree has come to hate her birthday by the time of the film because her mother had the same birthday as her and had died three years before. She even describes it to Carter as "an excuse to eat cake and open presents and shit" and that there's no real meaning behind it.
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: Tree is being slaughtered daily on her own birthday.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Lori, who seems like the Token Good Teammate of the bitchy sorority, but is actually orchestrating Tree's murder because a guy that she wanted to sleep with behind his wife' back is having his affair with Tree instead.
  • Black Comedy: In the Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror, the film clearly leans more toward the former, with deaths Played for Laughs and whatnot.
  • Bloody Hilarious: Most blatantly when Tree is repeatedly killed as a pop song plays in the background (one named "Confident", to make things worse...).
  • Broken Bird: Tree is gradually revealed to be this. Her mother's death affected her so much that she has become the bitter, jaded party girl we see at the beginning of the film.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Tree, as it can't get any worse than reliving being painfully murdered on your a different method/set of circumstances each time.
    • Sorority sister Becky also falls into this category, repeatedly suffering Danielle's fat-shaming (thanks to the loop) and at one point, getting accidentally whacked in the head by Tree wielding a baseball bat.
  • Car Fu: The murderer kills a police officer who pulled Tree over by hitting him with his car.
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: When Tree investigates Tim, he's about to engage in some self-love... to gay porn.
  • Characterization Marches On: In-Universe. It's Character Development to Tree and the audience, since the loops happen one at a time. To the other characters in the work, particularly the sorority house, Tree just seems to have changed drastically from Sunday the 17th to Monday the 18th, especially the Golden Path loop.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The birthday cupcake turns out to be instrumental to the killer's plan. It also helps Tree deduce the killer's true identity.
    • Tree gives Nick's bong some cursory focus. It soon becomes a murder weapon.
    • The rolling blackouts. They happen at 9:23 p.m. while Tree is in her room before going to the party, then in the penultimate loop, Tree uses the same blackout to get the drop on Tombs in the hospital and kill him.
    • A subtle one, usually only discerned after repeat viewings: Lori changed the ringtone on Tree's phone. How did the killer keep finding Tree, no matter where she went during the loops (like Tim's dorm or the hospital), when 99% of the people on campus would expect her to be at the Kappa house because she lived there, or the Sigma house for the party? Because Lori had enough access to Tree's phone to install a location app without Tree's knowledge.
    • The bell tower. It is seen a few times, usually at the start of the loop. After Tombs kills Carter, Tree hangs herself from the top of the bell tower to restart the loop and ensure Carter's survival.
  • Coitus Interruptus: Tree is about to have sex with Danielle's boyfriend, Nick, when two things happen: (1) Danielle texts Tree, threatening her to stay away from him and while the two women are busy text-fighting, (2) the killer shows up and makes short work of Nick.
  • Comically Missing the Point: In the third loop, Tree confirms that she has never met Carter until the night of Tuesday the 17th, and says in shock, "Oh, my God, this is a nightmare!", referring to her scenario of being trapped in the loop. Carter responds with this: "I'm sorry. You were the one who wanted to come home with me!"
  • Continuing Is Painful: Every loop starts with Tree feeling what killed her the last time (drowning: she vomits; hanging: she cricks her neck). In the one where she's taken to the hospital, the X-rays show that the internal damage from the last death was still present.
  • Covert Pervert: Carter's roommate, Ryan. Tree even calls him out on his less-than-wholesome words for women.
    "Hi, I'm the so-called fine vagine, and if that's the way you refer to girls, you and your hand are going to have a very lasting relationship".
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Dr. Butler, despite the fact that he's married. Lori is a female example.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Tree, with the snark growing along with her annoyance at dying so much.
    Tree: Who takes someone in her first date to a Subway? And it's not like you have a footlong.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Used as a plot point towards the end. Every time Tree dies she wakes up she wakes up weaker and weaker and she feels the after effects of whatever killed her last. Additionally this makes it harder to fight back. It's not clear if Tree has a set number of lives but if it continues, she realises she might not wake up.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Tree starts out as a snooty Alpha Bitch who pushes away anyone who attempts to get emotionally close to her, like Lori and Carter. With each loop, she gradually accepts Carter's assistance out of desperation and becomes nicer to him and to people in general as a result.
  • Denser and Wackier: After the first forty minutes or so, the film stops taking itself seriously and starts indulging in Black Comedy and amusing ways for Tree to die.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Tree absolutely freaks out and screams that it's hopeless when the loop continues even though she killed Tombs.
  • Destination Defenestration: Lori's ultimate fate.
  • Disappointed by the Motive: When Tree finds out she's being killed over and over again because Lori is angry that the (married) guy she wants keeps rejecting her in favor of sleeping with Tree, Tree cannot believe that the motive is so petty.
  • Disappointed in You: Referenced. Tree tells Carter that she doesn't think her deceased mother would be particularly happy if she saw how Tree turned out after her death, referring to her pre-Character Development self.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Lori's motivation to free Tombs, a serial killer, who goes on to murder several innocent people, all to cover her murder of Tree? Because Tree was sleeping with Lori's boss, who Lori wants to sleep with instead. Even Tree lampshades it — see Disappointed by the Motive and Evil Is Petty.
    Tree: I know I've been a bad roommate, but isn't this a bit much? What the hell?
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Tree goes barefoot often in the movie, even tossing her shoes away on the day when she tries being nice to everyone.
  • Dramatic Drop: Two, both emphasized with slow-motion.
    • When Tree streaks across campus, the global warming girl drops her clipboard.
    • The killer drops a lit candle onto the petrol-soaked road in this manner to blow up the police car Tree is trapped in.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: It takes a whole bunch of loops, but Tree eventually solves her murder and breaks free of the loops, getting together with Carter in the process.
  • Embarrassing Ringtone: Lori changes Tree's ringtone to be an annoying voice singing "Hey, it's my birthday! And now you got to pick up the phone".
  • Eureka Moment: The moment Tree realises that the last time she died it was the only time she actually ate Lori's cupcake. It tips her off that Lori poisoned it and was her killer all along.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Although Tree is not a nice person at the start, Carter, Nick, and Dr. Butler all want her. Emphasized as Nick's girlfriend has dark hair.
  • Evil Is Petty:
    • Dr. Butler, who acts charming and caring right up until Tree tells him she's through. His last shot at her is that he won't let her coast through his class, which she's already dropped.
    • Lori basically goes through all this trouble of trying to murder Tree because the guy she's into falls for her instead of Lori. When Tree calls her out on how petty this is, her second reason is because Tree is “a dumb bitch, too!”
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: After waking up in the loop after defeating Tombs, Tree naturally starts to wonder what the hell is going on, since she thought she got rid of her killer. As she talks herself through it, she realizes that she died in her sleep after doing the one thing she'd never done in any previous loop: eat Lori's cupcake. This clues her into the fact that Lori is the real killer... while she's alone in the room with Lori.
  • False Confession: Tree falsely claims she was driving drunk after a cop stops her for speeding, hoping he will take her to jail where she'll be safe. Unfortunately, it doesn't work.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Danielle says that she knew that Lori was a killer because "she never wore makeup, never posted any cute selfies, and she literally owned a pair of crocs".
  • First Girl Wins: Carter is the first person Tree sees in every loop, and the one who shows the most concern and bouts of heroism for Tree's sake. As a result, Tree sees to it that Carter makes it out alive, even killing herself to reset from a loop he dies in.
  • Flipping the Bird: Tree does this after breaking up with Gregory, and telling him that she's dropped his class.
  • Focus Group Ending: In test screenings, the ending had Tree murdered again - by Dr Butler's wife. Test audiences hated it, so the director decided to just put the happier one that's in the final cut.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: The first thing we hear in every loop is the sound of bells tolling. Towards the end, it lets the audience know immediately that even though Tree killed Tombs, she is still trapped in the loop.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the first loop, when Tree blows out the birthday candle and drops the cupcake in the bin, Lori looks disappointed/annoyed and says, "I made that for you from scratch." The first time you see that scene you probably think that she's just disappointed that Tree threw out the gift she made. In hindsight, she was annoyed that Tree had unwittingly foiled her plan.
    • There are a couple of early hints to the killer's identity. Most obvious is the killer's obsession with Tree's birthday. All of the traps and messages left for Tree relate to her birthday in some way or another. In all of the loops, Lori is the only person on campus shown to actually care that it's Tree's birthday. Secondly, in one of the loops, Tree boards up the windows to her room and barricades the door, blocking the only entrance. The killer still manages to attack her despite both barricades still being intact. This wouldn't make much sense unless the killer was already hiding in the room, waiting for an opportunity to attack, which would be a lot easier to do if the killer had their own key. There's also only one character who could have intercepted the card Danielle left for Tree to leave a threatening message, and it was the one who had to be sharing a room with her. Finally, when Tree is stuck in the police car, the killer lights some gasoline on fire to make the car explode. By using a candle similar to the one that was on Lori's cupcake.
    • Lori tells Tree in the first loop that Tree's relationship with Gregory is bound to have some pretty serious consequences. Tree brushes it off, but it turns out to be the main reason why Tree is being killed.
    • In the third loop, after Tree barricades herself in her dorm room, she sees a news report about Tombs. This becomes important in the second half of the film.
    • Gregory pulls a Stealth Hi/Bye by suddenly appearing behind Carter when the lights come back on after the rolling blackout in the hospital. Tree later pulls a similar Stealth Hi/Bye on Tombs to kill him during the same rolling blackout in the penultimate loop.
    • After Tree escapes from the hospital and the killer, the killer suddenly arrives in a car, from the opposite direction, hinting that there are two killers.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: John Tombs may be a Serial Killer, but he’s only being used by Lori as an obvious suspect for killing Tree.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: In spite of the film's slasher trappings, it's almost completely bloodless. Whenever Tree is about to be killed, the film cuts away to her awakening in Carter's bed before the fatal blow lands. The only blood we see is one time on the knife, then from both killers in the end.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: One of Tree's deaths happen as the killer does this with a bong.
  • Grin of Audacity: Tree gives Tombs one of these during their fight when it looks like he’s about to kill her, only for her stop watch to go off, signaling a blackout that would give her a chance to turn the tables on him.
  • Groin Attack: Tree kicks Lori in the groin during their final confrontation.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: The movie has been described as this. With stabbing. It was even lampshaded at the end.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: The guard at Tombs' door is killed while checking on him because Lori unshackled him. In real life, this would have been more difficult because guards are kept inside the room as well..
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Tree opens the day hungover, in a dorm room, after a night getting wasted.
  • Hard-Work Montage: Tree researching on who might be interested in killing her. Doubles as a Failure Montage and Death Montage given once a person is crossed off, the assassin shows up.
  • Heel Realization: Going through the time loop makes Tree realize she's become a lousy a person as every other girl in her sorority. It also makes her better.
  • "Hell, Yes!" Moment: Tree has one when she escapes from the hospital and leaves her killer behind.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In the third-to-last loop, Carter attacks Tombs before he can finish off Tree, and gets his neck snapped for his trouble. Tree wastes no time responding in kind so he can be brought back.
  • Heroic Suicide: Tree manages to beat the killer into submission in one loop, but he managed to kill Carter, so she hangs herself so that the loop will continue and he'll be alive again. "See you soon, asshole," indeed. A good thing too, since it wasn't even the real killer.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In one loop, Tree tries to kill the killer with a baseball bat to the head, only to accidentally hit and kill Becky instead. As she leans over Becky, the actual killer shows up, picks up the bat and kills Tree with it.
  • Hope Spot: Twice.
    • Tree manages to leave the killer behind in the hospital and is about to be taken into police custody. Then the killer turns the policeman into roadkill and Tree into barbecue.
    • Tree confronts and kills Tombs, only to wake up on Monday the 18th once again.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: Carter thinks the killer chose Tree's birthday on purpose. After some investigation, Tree dismisses it. Carter is eventually proven right, to the point the initially intended object of murder was a poisoned cupcake.
  • "I Am Great!" Song: "Confident" by Demi Lovato, which plays during the Hard-Work Montage, is this for both the hero and villain of the story if you listen closely to the lyrics.
  • Implacable Man: The killer is persistent as hell, most blatantly when Tree escapes in the hospital and some time later, the assassin shows up in a car of its own. Justified since there are actually two killers.
  • Improvised Weapon: A fair few, mainly used by Tree and the killer.
    • In the second loop, Tree is killed with Nick's bong.
    • Tree whacks the killer in the head with a hammer in the third loop, and later tries do the same with a baseball bat (but accidentally gets Becky instead).
    • Tree also hits Tombs with a crowbar and stops herself from killing him with it believing that killing him will end the loop and Carter, who Tombs had killed moments earlier, will stay dead.
  • Innocent Bystander: The killer has no problem killing whoever gets in the way of them getting to Tree. Tree herself accidentally gets Danielle (along with herself) killed in one loop, and hits another sorority sister in the head with a baseball bat in another, believing her to be the killer approaching from behind.
  • Inspiration Nod: At one point, Tree has a conversation with Carter in which she mentions that she's never seen any Bill Murray movies; Groundhog Day is mentioned by name.
  • Invincible Villain: Not just because of the structure, or that there are two killers. Nothing stops the killer, regardless of what Tree does. She barricades herself in her bedroom? Killer gets in. She hits the killer with a baseball bat then gets arrested? Killer kills the cop then the car in which Tree is handcuffed gets blown up.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Tree says to Tim in the first loop that just because she went on one date with him doesn't mean she has to keep talking to him, especially as she didn't have a good time.
    • At the end, Danielle calls Lori's murder plot lame and stupid, because they're Kappas and supposed to be eating healthy. Tree points it out at the start of the film by throwing the cupcake away.
  • Jerk-to-Nice-Guy Plot: Tree starts the film as an Alpha Bitch and while there are sympathetic reasons behind her persona they don't alter the fact that she is bitchy towards pretty much everyone. Over the course of the film she slowly becomes a genuinely better person.
  • Jump Scare: Carter has one in the hospital when, after the lights come back on, he suddenly finds Gregory standing right behind him.
  • Kaizo Trap: The second to last loop. Tree kills Tombs, only to be killed by a poisoned cupcake.
  • Karma Houdini: Subverted. Although Tree whacks Tombs with a crowbar in one loop and shoots him dead in the next, the loop restarts, meaning he ultimately survives without punishment (unless he remained in custody).
  • Karmic Death: Tree force feeds Lori the poisoned cupcake that Lori made to try and kill Tree with.
  • Kill Me Now, or Forever Stay Your Hand: Tree has a chance to kill her apparent killer and end the loop, but instead chooses to kill herself because otherwise Carter, a boy she technically just met that morning but has fallen for over the course of the Time Loop, will stay dead after he was killed by her potential attacker for trying to help her.
  • The Lad-ette: In addition to drinking a lot, Tree also takes the opportunity while eating with Carter to burp and fart loudly.
  • Logo Joke: The Universal logo restarts about three times to highlight that the movie is centered around a "Groundhog Day" Loop.
  • Love Makes You Evil: As described in Evil Is Petty, the reason for Tree's murder: her roommate Lori is angry that the guy she likes only pays attention to Tree.
  • Make-Up Is Evil: As Tree becomes a better person she begins wearing noticeably less makeup.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: The assassin wearing a baby mask (namely, one of the university's mascot).
  • The Many Deaths of You: The masked man kills Tree in increasingly creative ways.
  • Match Cut: Tree's head falling due to blunt force trauma changes to it going down to the pillow.
  • Meaningful Background Event: As Tree is having an angry text exchange with Danielle for sleeping with her boyfriend, the killer is slaughtering him.
  • Meaningful Name:
  • Missing Mom: Tree's mother died sometime before she started college. Part of the reason she hates her birthday so much and never has lunch with her father is because they both shared one. This leads to a very touching scene where she finally has lunch with him and confides how much she still misses her mother and how sorry she is for shunning her father.
  • Moment Killer: When Tree returns to her sorority, a masked person like the one who killed her appears, so she punches him... totally killing the mood of the crowd that would reveal a surprise birthday party.
  • Mood Whiplash: A three-layered version. Tree has a "Hell, Yes!" Moment when she escapes from the hospital in Gregory's car and seemingly escapes the killer, only to then be pulled over for speeding. Then the killer shows up again...
  • Mr. Fanservice: Nick. Danielle sees Tim this way.
  • Murder by Mistake: Tree accidentally kills Becky with a bat during one of the loops, mistaking her for the killer.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Tree goes Streaking during one of the loops.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: John Tombs. With a name like that, how can he not be a Serial Killer?
  • Neck Snap: In the third-to-last loop, this is how Tombs kills Carter. Tree kills herself with one moments later by hanging herself so the loop will restart and Carter will be alive again.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer shows a shot of the "Save the world" girl Tree sees every time she goes outside Carter's building while she and Carter are talking about possible suspects. In the movie proper, she is just a reminder of the loop.
  • Nice Guy: Carter, to the point he didn't take advantage of a drunken Tree.
  • No Bisexuals: When Tree spies on a guy she dated briefly, he is seen watching gay porn. Tree assumes he must be gay, not even considering that he might be bisexual, and the movie never calls her on this assumption. She seems to be right though judging by his reaction when Tree talks with him about it.
  • Not What It Looks Like: First, the very start—Tree is not awakening in Carter's room for spending the night with him, he just wanted to help her wasted self and thus slept on his roommate's bed. Then, when Tree is attacked by the killer in a bed, a bystander does not stop it because he thinks it's just some kinky stuff, and also because he's drunk.
  • Not with the Safety on, You Won't: Tree's two attempts to shoot John Tombs fails due to this. The next time she has the gun, it's off, as she points out in the Pre-Mortem One-Liner.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Tree has many of these, usually when she is about to be killed.
    • Danielle and Tree both have one as they realise they're about to be hit by a bus.
    • Tree has one during her Eureka Moment when she realises who the killer is, and that the killer is in the same room.
    • Lori, before Tree sends her to her death out of the window.
    • Tree in the final scene when Carter tricks her into thinking she's still in the loop.
  • Passed in Their Sleep: When Tree wakes up in the loop again after seemingly having prevented her murder, she eventually figures out she died in her sleep—poisoned by the cupcake she had never eaten before.
  • The Patient Has Left the Building: In the one loop where Tree is hospitalized, she runs in spite of medical orders fearing for her life. She evades the killer in the parking lot... only for a reappearance on the road.
  • Police are Useless: Tree summons a few cops for protection from the Babyface Killer, but none of them prove to be of any use. Officer Santora is killed off by vehicular manslaughter right before he can cart Tree off to jail (which she wanted so she can stay safe). The hospital's security guard, who is visibly fatigued by a lack of crimes, has become sedentary and unalert. Though in the end, Tree does get Lori to confess by announcing she can bring Lori's cupcake to the police station for study.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Lori starts calling Tree a "cheap slut" and a "dumb bitch" when Tree forces her to admit she was the killer all this time.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Tree has seemingly never heard of Bill Murray, hence not being familiar with Ghostbusters and (oh, the Irony) Groundhog Day.
  • Precision F-Strike: Tree goes "Oh fuck" before the cop car she's in blows up (in the trailer, it's a Curse Cut Short).
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Two instances, both by Tree:
    • When shooting John Tombs dead: "Safety's off. Thanks for the tip."
    • Later, before feeding Lori the poisoned cupcake: "EAT IT, BITCH!"
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Tree has a Cat Fight with Danielle in the street and are hit by a moving vehicle (in this case, a bus) within seconds.
    • Tree escapes the killer in one loop by stealing her professor's car. She screams in victory... only to be pulled over for speeding.
  • Recycled Trailer Music: The trailer has every loop opens with Tree awakened in her birthday by 50 Cent's "In Da Club", whose opening line is "Go shorty, it's your birthday!"
  • Red Herring:
    • Tree finds a mask like the killer's in her teacher's drawer. When she attempts to confront him, the killer suddenly kills him.
    • The fugitive who Tree initially thought was her killer, though she figures out that the assassin planned well in making him a scapegoat, and he does nearly kill her once.
    • Tree spends multiple attempts sifting through different red herrings, including Danielle, Tim, and the wife of the professor she's sleeping with, only to find all of them innocent. The masked man who turns to stare at Tree when she's headed to the party also turns out to be a bystander.
  • Rescue Romance: Tree only falls for Carter once he gives his life to save her—to the point she kills herself to ensure he will be alive again.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The Masked “Man” is actually the very female Lori.
  • Save Scumming: After a few loops, Tree pretty much memorizes what happens and is able to avoid some problems. However, the masked man does something different in each loop so her preparations are not enough, and she gets weaker on each attempt.
  • Say My Name: Tree screams Carter's name in horror after Tombs snaps his neck and kills him.
  • Screaming Woman: Tree wakes up screaming in terror at the start of the fourth loop, startling Carter and causing him to hit his head on his dresser.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Tree escapes from the hospital because she knows the killer will find her. It doesn't work, as while she does escape, the killer catches up to her and kills her again.
    • In the final loop, Tree crosses the Despair Event Horizon and decides to do this to avoid being killed again. Subverted, as she doesn't leave, because she then realises who the killer is.
  • Serial Killer: John Tombs, a serial killer who specifically targets women, and is said to have claimed six victims already.
  • Serial Killings, Specific Target: Not only is Tree's would-be killer willing to murder anyone else who gets in the way, they also release a serial killer known for targeting coeds from custody to have either a fall guy or a backup plan.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: In one of the loops, Tree confidently struts naked around campus, seemingly enjoying the appreciative stares she gets.
  • Shoulders-Up Nudity: When Tree goes Streaking through the campus, she's only shown from the shoulders up, with a quick Toplessness from the Back shot.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The shot of Tree and Carter near the end before she eats the cupcake as they celebrate her birthday is reminiscent of Sixteen Candles.
    • Carter specifically mentions Groundhog Day in regards to Tree's situation.
    • A Serial Killer named Tombs.
    • The title of the film is a reference to a song by GWAR.
  • Something Completely Different: During the loop montage where Tree spends each one ruling out a suspect for who kills her, she goes casually walking through campus completely naked for some unexplained reason.
  • Spanner in the Works: The killer Lori obviously wasn't counting on Fate, the cosmos, or whatever powers that be to continuously loop Tree's birthday until she deduced her assailant's identity.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The trailers for both films feature the song "In Da Club" by 50 Cent playing over the footage. An ironic tune since the main character ends in a time loop and getting killed over and over on her birthday again.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: When Tree wakes up in hospital and the blackout hits, Gregory is suddenly standing behind Carter when the lights come back on, freaking Carter out.
    • Played with. When it looks like Tombs is about to kill Tree, she flashes him a Grin of Audacity before the blackout hits, so that when the lights come back on, Tree has disappeared and is now behind Tombs.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • Tree has a scene walking across campus in her birthday suit.
    • Among Carter's movie posters: They Live.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The cop car, with Tree inside it. Tree manages to say "Oh, fuck" before the car explodes in a fireball.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Tree figures out that the cupcake Lori baked her was poisoned.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Tree and her professor Dr. Butler note  are in a romantic relationship, making out in the latter's hospital office and trying to pass off their time together there as just "Academic office hours". The idea of this trope becomes more and more repulsive to Tree as the film progresses because of the time loop.
  • The End... Or Is It?: Twice, both subverted—first, Tree discovers the seemingly Golden Path didn't work out. Then, Carter trolls her into thinking the loop is back.
  • Toilet Humor: Tree takes the opportunity to fart absolutely loudly in front of Carter.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: After enough deaths, Tree grows from an Alpha Bitch to someone who actually cares about others.
  • Toplessness from the Back: When Tree goes walking through the campus naked, one shot shows her naked back as she walks.
  • Trust Password: Tree quickly convinces her friend Carter of what is happening by predicting the day's events.
  • Understanding Boyfriend: Carter, who believes Tree every time she tells him she's stuck in a time loop and helps her figure out how to get through it.
  • Unintentional Backup Plan: Inverted. Lori's first plan to kill Tree is to poison her with a cupcake. When Tree refuses, she concocts an elaborate scheme to disguise herself as a local serial killer and murder her that way. When that fails in the second to last loop, Tree celebrates by eating the cupcake.
  • The Un-Reveal: Just like its inspiration, the film never explains what caused the day to repeat. The sequel, however, does provide an explanation.
  • Vapor Trail: The killer makes the police car in which Tree is being held leak fuel, and eventually lights the trail.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Tree vomits on Carter's floor after waking up from a loop when the killer drowns her in a fountain.
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: Along with the fact she always awakens in a dorm room away from her sorority, Tree also once passes out after a loop and wakes up in a hospital.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Tree eventually finds out what the night before. Not only did she drink a lot, but also started 2 fights, kissed a guy in front of his girl, and vomited pretzels all around. But at least she didn't sleep with Carter.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: The protagonist is known as Tree—though it's only a nickname, as her given name is Theresa.
  • With Friends Like These...: None of Tree's sorority sisters seem to like each other past a superficial level. They have no problem publicly humiliating one of their own for eating junk food and Tree tries to sleep with Danielle's boyfriend (which according to a text from Danielle, she's done before). About the only one Tree really gets along with is Lori, who she still treats poorly. Of course, Lori does kill her multiple times...
  • Yandere: Lori is willing to kill Tree and anyone who gets in her way just because the teacher she's crushing on is having an affair with Tree.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Tree escapes from the killer in the hospital and celebrates ecstatically, only to then be pulled over by the police. She is about to be arrested and taken into custody, only for the killer to reappear and mow the officer down.
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Tree's eventually reaction to why she is being murdered.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Tree is sleeping with a married teacher. She also attempts to do this with Danielle's boyfriend Nick. The killer shows up before they can get down to business, though.


Example of: