Happy Birthday to Me (1981) Movie Reviews

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"Happy Birthday to Me" is a fairly entertaining slasher from the early 1980s, in which the main target is composed by a bunch of hateful know-it-all teenagers who basically deserve the worst possible deaths. There's nothing really spectacular about that, but "Happy Birthday to Me", delivers a well developed combination of butchery for the gore-lovers, but also offers a pretty intriguing and disturbing mystery surrendering the main character. As a matter of fact, the main premise in this film is the main character's deeply troubled mind and her desperate efforts to try to rebuild a part of her life that seems to be missing inside her head. Naturally, throughout the entire film, the deeply troubled girl appears having incomplete flashbacks that develop an atmosphere full of drama and deception.

This slasher is fairly enjoyable for the most part, until the awful ending arrives and somehow ruins the entire thing. I intend to keep this humble review free from spoilers, so I won't give any specific details. However, I am going to say that "Happy Birthday to Me" is one of those films that promise a pretty unsurprising ending without a 'Eureka!' revelation. It is patent from the get-go that one of the characters is clearly the one behind the murders and even though this could sound, shall we say…sub-standard?, I myself, think it would have been a lot more reasonable to leave a mildly expected ending instead of this soap-opera-like final sequence. Let's see: first of all, the killer's so-called identity was only predictable to a certain extent. Let's just not forget that sometimes, the killer's identity in a slasher film looks so obvious, that we end up discarding that possibility because it looks so obvious. So if we keep in mind this simple rule, then I guess we can say that none of the character was suspicious enough to add such a grotesque twist. Honestly, the whole film works as a charm and then, all of a sudden, it's like the writers felt compelled to mock the audience by yelling 'Gotcha!' while pointing and laughing as if the whole movie was a damned high school prank. Unexpected endings are good sometimes, but I think this was just way off. One thing is to deceive the audience and trick them into believing something that eventually is not true, I'm okay with that, because there are several slasher movies like that. However, pulling such a disastrous and stupid explanation to avoid a predictable ending seems to me like a desperate attempt from the writers to be a part of the 'cool gang' of the horror filmmakers. Overall, the film is enjoyable and it would have been one of my favorite slasher films if it wasn't because of that incredibly far-fetched final revelation.

As an extra bonus, most of us who grew up watching "Little House on the Prairie" are going to be delighted by seeing Melissa Sue Anderson leaving behind sweet Mary Ingalls for a moment and turning into a totally disturbed teenage girl who drinks alcohol, swears, goes out with guys and… a little bit more than that. Enjoy the movie, but be prepared for the ending, because… oh, boy!, just trust me on this one and be prepared.