Happy Death Day and Alternative Readings
There are a few things that spectators find hard to let go when it comes to movie interpretation I found. Very often they believe that main characters are considered good -unless they’re clearly shown as morally dubious- that we should abide by their moral code, and that the movie condone their actions. It’s not that often the case, and nothing tells you that the decisions they take are the right ones or not.
What a movie does, the best thing that a movie can give you, is a representation of reality, a trial run.
I’ve just watched Contagion. In the movie, there’s a guy called Alan Krumwiede who pretends that the virus has an antidote in forsythia. When he shows symptoms of having been contaminated, he records himself live taking some forsythia claiming that if he’s still alive on the next day, it’ll prove that he is right. Wikipedia tells the end of his narrative arc this way: “Krumwiede, having faked his illness to boost sales of forsythia, is arrested for conspiracy and securities fraud. »
The problem in that is that we never have any proof that Krumwiede lied. Yes, he’s arrested by the CIA, and tested and someone tells him the results showed that he never had the disease. Results of an analysis are numbers on a printed paper. The sole thing you need to be able to fake them is a reason to do so.
Clearly, the guy who accuses Alan Krumwiede of everything is convinced that the man is guilty, the question is: what does it prove that a random pawn is convinced of Krumwiede’s guilt in such a serious story ?
And so, many spectators simply accept this version of the story where Alan Krumwiede was a fraud and did it for the money, they do not imagine that the movie could possibly expect them not to do so. Yet, there are many elements that suggest that Krumwiede is honest.
My point here is that it’s not because his narrative arc ends with his discredit inside the universe of the movie, that the movie is telling us that he was a liar. This we have to judge for ourselves using far less visible clues.
I’m however writing this article to talk about another movie which supports my “alternative readings approach” a bit more: Happy Death Day. [spoilers]
Happy Death Day tells the story of a student who is murdered, but wakes up to relive the same day until she’s murdered again, wakes up and restart the day.
I hurt my brain over that one because I was entirely convinced that the girl that Tree kills at the end of the movie isn’t her recurrent aggressor. I was convinced that Lori actually attempted at killing Tree "just once." Tree is killed multiple times in a multiple number of ways.
I considered the idea that the killer was a different person each time. I also wondered whether another person could have been stuck inside the loop with Tree without telling her, that kind of thing, but I could never find a coherent interpretation to that movie... that which is the reason why I never wrote an article about it.
Also, there was the problem that when Tree kills Lori Spengler it actually puts an end to the loop. It was a difficult thing to explain if Lori wasn't the real killer.
We learn in Happy Death Day 2U that Lori wasn’t the main killer as it's Tree's double from another universe.
Of course, sequels do not always respect previous movies and can alter elements in order to be able to squeeze themselves in the story. But Happy Death Day 1&2 truly feel like they were written together, all the more so when the second one explains what happens in the first with so much precision. They really feel like one long movie.
And so, I do believe that when the first movie was released, any spectator who didn’t know a sequel was in the making was given enough element to understand that Lori wasn’t the murderer and that Happy Death Day’s happy ending actually rested upon the killing of the wrong murderer. And I do believe that someone who is interested in multiverses (I couldn't care less about this trendy gimmick) could have guessed that the killer was tree's double each time.
I recently watched 12 Angry Men, a movie about a jury composed of twelve men who are to judge a kid who is accused of having stabbed his father.
Eleven believe him to be guilty and the last one just says he doesn’t know when the vote has to be unanimous in order to validate the judgement. One by one, the guy is going to convince his eleven “adversaries” to vote “not guilty” simply because there isn’t enough evidence that the kid did it.
At the end of the movie the hero has managed to get the kid exonerated and it seems that most spectators have accepted the idea that he was innocent because that’s how the movie ends, when it is very reasonable to believe that the kid is guilty and the hero is a master manipulator. Whether you think the boy deserves the chair for his crime is an all other story. I actually believe that the main character himself believes the kid to be guilty but doesn't want to send him to the chair, that which would give the movie an interesting meaning: death penalty forces irrational thoughts on juries, because the debate can easily shift from "is the accused guilty or innocent" to "shall we kill that person ?"
I just wanted to bring Happy Death Day as an example of a movie at the end of which spectators are undeniably lead to believe something that is entirely false while the truth behind appearances remains accessible.
The fact that the T-Rex’ vision shouldn’t be based on movement is also something that is confirmed in Jurassic Park’s numerous sequels but people still do not like the idea because apparently, Alan Grant is God.