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Happy Death Day (2017) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • A teenage girl, trying to enjoy her birthday, soon realizes that this is her final one. That is, if she can figure out who her killer is. She must relive that day, over and over again, dying in a different way each time. Can she solve her own murder?

  • After a night of hard-partying and heavy-drinking, the self-centred college student and sorority sister, Tree Gelbman, wakes up on the morning of her birthday with a serious hangover in the dorm of a guy she can't recall his name. As Tree goes about her day, little does she know that everything that happens now or will happen during the course of the day, is a twisted déjà vu of a reality that repeats itself again and again, until her brutal murder at night by a masked madman. With every repetition, or better yet, resurrection, Tree gets a little bit closer to the identity of her unknown killer, however, figuring out who he or she may be, always ends up with Tree's death. Wake up, figure out the killer, die, repeat. After all, practice makes perfect.

  • A college student must relive the day of her murder over and over again, in a loop that will end only when she discovers her killer's identity.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • The film opens as the bell tolls at Bayfield University on Monday the 18th. Teresa "Tree" Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) wakes up hungover on her birthday in the dorm room of schoolmate Carter Davis (Israel Broussard). She ignores a phone call from her father. After asking for Tylenol, Tree starts to head out and sees Carter's roommate Ryan (Phi Vu) coming in and asking if he slept with her, to her disgust and Carter's embarrassment.

    On her way to her own room, Tree runs into a guy she went out with named Tim (Caleb Spillyards). He asks Tree why she hasn't answered his texts, and she says because their one date involved them going to Subway and it made her miserable. Tree goes to her room and sees her roommate Lori Spengler (Ruby Modine). Tree realizes she is late for class and frantically gets ready. Lori then presents her with a cupcake she baked for Tree. Tree blows out the candle and dumps the cupcake in the trash because of the carbs.

    Tree goes to her class and later meets with her professor, Gregory Butler (Charles Aitken). The two are having an affair despite Gregory being married. His wife Stephanie (Laura Clifton) is at the door after Tree kept it budged.

    Tree joins her sorority sisters during lunch for a meeting regarding a spring dance. The head sister, Danielle Bouseman (Rachel Matthews), chastises another sister, Becky (Cariella Smith), for bringing junk food to eat. Becky gets up to leave and bumps into Carter, causing Becky to spill her food all over Tree. Carter tries to return Tree some jewelry she left behind, but Tree pulls him aside to keep hiding the fact that she slept in his room.

    Danielle invites Tree to a party at a dorm later that evening. Tree heads through the campus alone and passes a group of guys wearing the school's sports team merchandise (they're the "Babies"). As she heads past a bridge, she hears the sound of a music box. Tree goes over to pick up the box and sees someone with a baby mask standing a few feet in front of her. She threatens to call the cops, and the person runs. Tree starts to leave but is then chased by the masked person. They eventually catch Tree and stab her to death.

    Tree wakes up in Carter's room at the beginning of the same day. Clearly freaked out and confused, she leaves the room and thinks she is going through deja vu. She goes to her room and once again rejects Lori's cupcake, but this time just leaves it instead of dumping it. Stephanie catches her in Gregory's office after it's been locked. During lunch, Tree warns Becky before Carter bumps into her, but the same things still happen.

    Tree heads over to the party again, but this time avoids the bridge. She goes to the dorm and is greeted by someone with the baby mask, causing her to scream and punch the person in the face. It turns out to be Nick (Blaine Kern III), Danielle's boyfriend. It's a surprise party for Tree. She goes around drinking and trying to enjoy herself. She goes up to Nick's room where he messes around with the mask for a bit. However, the real killer shows up in the room and stabs Nick to death. When she's not looking, Tree gets a text from Danielle, accusing her of hooking up with Nick behind her back, and implying it's happened before. Tree is attacked by the killer, who takes her out with a broken bong piece.

    Tree wakes up in Carter's room again. She's even more freaked out this time. She runs to her room and tells Lori that someone is after her. Lori calms her down and suggests she take the day off and relax in her room. Tree locks up the room and puts up boards to prevent anyone from getting in. Later that night, the killer breaks in anyway. Tree fights the killer off but is still stabbed to death.

    After going through the same things again, Tree explains her situation to Carter, who is understandably confused. He suggests that she narrow down her list of suspects until she can find out who the killer is. Carter thinks the killer may be specifically targeting Tree on her birthday, which means everyone at school is a suspect since Danielle told everyone about the surprise party.

    Tree goes through several loops as she goes after her suspects. She first goes after Tim, but catches him in his room looking at gay porn. After dying again, she suspects Stephanie, but she spots Stephanie moments before the killer drowns her. She suspects Danielle but ends up dying on her own after the two get into a fight and they get hit by a bus.

    After crossing off those names, Tree suspects Gregory might be the killer. She looks for him in the hospital after getting an x-ray taken to find that she has sustained internal damage from her previous deaths. While going through Gregory's office, Tree finds a baby mask in his drawer. However, the killer stabs Gregory and then chases Tree into the parking lot. She takes a car and gets out. As she excitedly thinks she escaped death, a cop pulls her over for speeding. Tree lies and says she's drunk and high so that she can be in a cell and avoid the killer. When she's cuffed and put in the back of the car, the killer drives past and hits the cop. The gas tank starts leaking, so the killer drops a birthday candle to ignite the fuel and blow Tree up.

    Tree wakes up in Carter's room yet again. She proves she knows what's going to happen by pointing out some things that she's been noticing frequently, like a car alarm going off, sprinklers being set off on studying students, and a group of activists standing together while one member drops to the ground.

    Carter takes Tree to the nearby burger place as she is now getting weaker with each new loop. She's getting worried that she may be running out of lives. Tree mentions avoiding her dad's phone calls and tells Carter that her mom passed away three years earlier. Moments later, they then see a news report on TV about a serial killer named Joseph Tombs (Rob Mello), who is notorious for going after young women. Tree believes he's the killer and that she can finally stop him.

    Tree and Carter run to the hospital to stop Tombs, but he has already killed the security guard and escaped. Tree grabs a fire axe and tries to run from Tombs. Carter protects Tree, but Tombs snaps his neck. Tree manages to incapacitate Tombs, but realizes that if she succeeds in stopping the loops, Carter will stay dead. She runs to the top of the bell tower before Tombs can catch her, and she hangs herself, promising to find Tombs soon.

    Tree starts the new loop with more positive energy. She greets Carter warmly, warns the students about the sprinklers, and is friendly to Lori when she goes to her room. When Tim approaches her, she kindly tells him she knows he doesn't like girls and that he should be free to love who he really wants. Tree goes to Gregory's class and interrupts his lecture to pull him out and tell him she is breaking things off between them, and that she's dropped his class. During the lunch meeting, Tree shows up with a tray full of junk food and proudly scarfs it down. Although Danielle tries to send Becky away, Tree doesn't let her leave, and instead takes Becky's chocolate milk to pour on Danielle's head, humiliating her. Carter then comes by to return Tree's jewelry, and she kisses him in front of the other sisters. She then invites Carter to join her later that night for her birthday.

    Tree goes to have lunch with her dad David (Jason Bayle). She admits to him that it's been hard to be around him since her mother died, but she says she loves him and is sorry for hurting him. The two then laugh to lighten the mood and they have lunch.

    Tree prepares herself to go after Tombs. She goes up to the security guard with a knife and takes his gun before telling him to go get backup. Tree then walks into Tombs' room and aims the gun at him as he pretends to be asleep. She tries to shoot him but she forgot to take the safety off. Tombs gets up and fights Tree, brutally slamming her against the wall. Tree then remembers that a brief blackout is supposed to occur, which happens at the right moment for her to escape Tombs's line of sight. She appears behind him and takes the safety off, allowing her to shoot Tombs dead.

    Tree and Carter spend the rest of the night together, and she eats the cupcake Lori made her after she blows it out and makes a wish.

    Tree wakes up once more in Carter's room. The birthday ringtone plays. It's still Monday the 18th. She becomes confused and angry, wondering how she could still be stuck in the loop. She runs to her room to find Lori, who offers her the cupcake again. Tree declines it and says she ate it the night before...and then it hits her. She died in her sleep, which is because the cupcake was poisoned all along. She never ate the cupcake anytime before, so she realizes Lori was the killer the whole time. Since she works at the hospital, Lori was able to set Tombs loose and make it look like he killed Tree due to his history. To drive the point home even further, Tree finds the baby mask in Lori's desk. Tree tries to make Lori eat the cupcake and even threatens to bring it to the police. Lori comes clean and says this was all because a guy she likes was more into Tree, which Tree thinks is a stupid motive, as well as Lori saying Tree's a "dumb bitch". The two start fighting as Lori tries to finish Tree off for good. They are interrupted by Danielle from outside the room as Lori has Tree pinned to the bed, but Tree manages to grab the cupcake and shove it in Lori's mouth. Tree then jumps up and grabs the ceiling lamp so she can kick Lori out the window to her death.

    Tree and Carter are in a diner watching the news report on the incident, with Danielle doing an interview just for the publicity. Carter starts to tell Tree that her situation reminds him of "Groundhog Day", but she's never heard of it or Bill Murray.

    Tree wakes up and hears the birthday ringtone again. Carter acts like she's just waking up hungover again. Tree starts to freak out, until Carter reveals he was just pranking her and it's officially Tuesday the 19th. They laugh about it and kick Ryan out when he tries to come back inside before they start kissing.

See also

Taglines | Synopsis | Plot Keywords | Parents Guide

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