Yet another movie that I saw years and years ago and have completely forgotten about since then! I remembered some key scenes from the movie but honestly, the bulk of it was pretty much all gone. Oh, my brain, do I try to put too much information in you at one time and you just decide to throw the old stuff out? Well anyway, Happy Birthday To Me is back in my brain now.
Virginia Wainwright is the newest member of Crawford Academy's "Top Ten," an elite clique of the richest and most popular students at the school. A few days before her birthday, Virginia's friends start disappearing one by one, murdered by an unseen foe. And Virginia suffers confusing blackouts at the same time, causing her to believe that she may indeed be the culprit. Is she murdering her friends and not remembering it, or is it someone else?
The entire movie can be quite confusing at points. Our main character Virginia is already suffering from memory loss as a result of a tragic experience involving the death of her mother. We only learn truth as she does. She is undergoing therapy and we later find out that she's had some kind of brain surgery. Okay, so she can't really be trusted. Then when her friends start disappearing and dying, Virginia loses chunks of time which is confusing to her and the audience.
Now, boasting the tagline "Six of the most bizarre murders you'll ever see" is pretty ballsy and a large plate to fill. I'd say this movie gets a thumbs down in that respect. Getting stabbed in the stomach with hedge clippers? No. Not "bizarre." Rather boring, in fact. Bizarre is the kind of weird shit that happens to people in the Final Destination movies. Catching your scarf in the wheel of a motorcycle is a little better but not much.
One of my favorites definitely has to be the famous shish kabob death simply because that kind of rules and because it inspired that awesome poster. Better than that though, in my opinion, is the guy who gets the barbell dropped on his neck. I was expecting it to just crush him and him gagging and stuff, but no. It drops down all quick like and we get a nice spattering of blood. Good scene. The next best one is the murder of the doctor with a fire poker. This one is interesting from the sheer amount of blood that comes out of the man from only a few whacks with the poker. Blood just covers one wall of Virginia's room; it's really a little excessive but cool at the same time.
Pre-Saw III, this film also gives us a great brain surgery scene, where a piece of Virginia's skull is cut out, showing a nice, bloody and bulging brain underneath. Yuck. My only question: How did her hair grow back so fast?
Two things are really wrong with the ending, though. One is the obvious: that mask bullshit is about as believable as leprechauns. Ann just puts on a mask and she suddenly looks seamlessly like Virginia? Really? Especially when Ann's got those weird, perfectly straight and big teeth? Me thinks no. You really have to suspend some disbelief to deal with these shenanigans. The other thing is Ann's incredibly lame motivation. If I haven't said it yet, I'll say it here: I cannot stand killers with lame motivations! The whole half-sisters with Virginia being the better one that everyone cared about or whatever... no. Just... no. I don't believe it and I don't like it. Get a life.
Though it's a jumble of confusion all the way around (that scene with Virginia and the other dude in the bell tower? How weird was that?), Happy Birthday To Me has entered the hearts of the cult-lovers of the world, and for the most part, it's pretty good. It's different enough from the typical slasher mold to get noticed and give audiences something fresh.