Happy Birthday to Me - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Happy Birthday to Me Reviews

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½ June 29, 2017
WOW 27%?!!! REALLY?!! its alot better then most slasher thrillers now!!! and dont forget this was 1981. when North American slasher films were starting to get popular. I give it a "B" and 80% fresh
February 16, 2017
Happy Birthday To Me is another teen slasher that is too slow and sloppy for its own good. The pace seems to be a direct result of the underwritten and simultaneously overwritten plot. What I mean by this is that the movie seemingly has no leg to stand on but in the final scenes unleashes a slew of hilariously absurd plot details. There's some well orchestrated death scenes that are not overly graphic but I wasn't digging this one. Always see for yourself!
July 9, 2016
Everything about this slasher chesseball is fantastic only for genre fans like me.
May 4, 2016
I loved this movie, it was a great 80's slasher and the actors were very good aswell. The plot was confusing but for those out there who think deep and like playing detective and putting pieces together, you'll definitely enjoy it.
August 20, 2015
Overly long at almost two hours but I quite enjoyed the slow pace and multiple (increasingly ludicrous) twists. The final turn of the plot is so outlandish I actually had to think about it - not in a sense of wonder but more 'How is that possible?' and 'Why even?' Still, it keeps the viewer guessing right up to the frankly ridiculous masked-killer finale and not every horror can claim that. It looks good too, especially for 1981.
August 16, 2015
150816: This film is pretty...bad. It's not so bad I'm going to say, "don't watch it" but it's pretty bad.
½ July 3, 2015
Just when you think it can't make any less sense, it does.
April 16, 2015
Similar to Friday the 13th, but done with wit and mostly believable performances, Happy Birthday to Me is known to be a film that centres on the eventually depressing outlook and the sorrowful past of the lead character in Virginia, the mystery and build-up of the killer whose face remains unseen to strengthen the suspense and heighten the mystery and subtleness of the deaths, and an extremely unusual plot twist that has to be seen to be believed... that is, if you are the right age to watch this movie.
½ February 22, 2015
Happy Birthday to Me is a great deal more complex than it has any right or reason to be. In fact, with its emphasis on mystery and warped clinical psychology, its frankly nonsensical ending, and the way that the killer is depicted, in the first half, as nothing but a pair of black gloves poking out of a trench coat, it is one of the most overt riffs on the Italian gialli in the history of North American slasherdom, lacking only the stylistic excess to make the comparison final. A marriage of the slasher and the giallo, then, and more than fascinating on just those grounds.
December 19, 2014
it was very bloody and very cleaver for a plotline i do reccomend this but its campy horror .and fun
November 8, 2014
A great thriller, and great with slash and gore!
½ November 4, 2014
For the most part a standard slasher film for its era, what sets this apart is the bizarre explanation for the murders which is revealed in the final scene.
October 30, 2014
The twist ending is awesome Defiantly a gem
October 27, 2014
A very convoluted, very slow, and much too long slasher movie. The good news is it is fairly enjoyable with the setups and it is shot pretty well. And while it is too long, it's long because of the ridiculous running time, not because the pacing is off. The pacing was fine, the movie just had no business being nearly 2 hours long.

I believe the version I saw was edited, or the movie was cut and there is no uncut version, but whatever the case a lot of blood was obviously missing. It may have enhanced the experience because I was sort of put off by the fast cuts away.

The ending is way too complicated and convoluted. The entire plot is a bit of a mess and has several different things going on just to have that twist ending. Every slasher movie was always trying to have a twist ending and this one is no different. The funny thing is, so many of these slasher movies run together that they end up having similar endings. There is actually another slasher movie called The Initiation that has the same basic twist ending. Though, that movie came out a few years later, so you can't make the argument that Happy Birthday to Me ripped it off. Maybe there was another horror movie with the same twist though, because I have felt like I've seen it before.

Either way, it's not the worst slasher out there, just way too long. The makeup looks great on the dead bodies, but the edits really took away from it for me. Maybe worth a watch for big slasher fans out there, but otherwise this can be passed.

Also, the poster is way too goofy for this movie. It's actually a pretty straightforward slasher flick with little to no comedic relief. In fact, it kind of takes itself a bit too serious and you would never think that based on the poster/cover art for the movie. It's definitely one of the more memorable 80s horror movie posters though.
August 15, 2014
Reminded me of April Fools day, with it's "which one of these is the killer" angle, but this film was less memorable.
August 1, 2014
PATHETIC! No wit, no style, no suspense. There's hardly even any gore. Glenn Ford looks embarrassed, and well he should be, since this is one of the absolute worst things he ever did as an actor. Director J Lee Thompson, an accomplished filmmaker with a number of excellent movies to his credit, must've really needed a paycheck to consent to direct this load of garbage. Who actually WATCHES this shit?!
May 27, 2014
I liked the fact that it had some gore and suspense, but also it had shock value which I really enjoy. Also, I though the acting was good overall. However, I did feel sometimes like the movie was too long, maybe because of its long shots and confusion of the plot, but it all payed of excellently in the end with one of the most unexpected and twisted endings I have seen in a horror film, or in this case slasher film. I really liked a lot the different twists it had throughout the movie but mostly the ones in the end, because it felt very original and unusual, and even though it also felt a little bit silly and not believable, it still managed to surprise me big time and to really shock me multiple times.
March 5, 2014
Who knew a fire poker would be so bloody?
½ March 3, 2014
Happy Birthday to Me (J. Lee Thompson, 1981)
[originally posted 19Jul2001]

J. Lee Thompson may have directed films in Hollywood for almost four decades, but somehow they never got any better (his final film was the Charles Bronson howler Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects, eight years after this mess). Melissa Sue Anderson, seemingly desperate to shake the good-girl image that came with the success of Little House on the Prairie, plays the coed whose friends are getting killed one by one as her birthday approaches. She always seems to be in the area, but just can't seem to remember actually killing anyone. (Oh, come on, you can figure it out.) Unfortunately, the only thing this movie actually killed was Anderson's burgeoning career as a serious non-typecast actress. Special effects, direction, etc., are about what you'd expect from a bargain-basement Halloween clone. There are some good lines, though, and one character has a pet rat. So the movie is saved from complete destruction, but not by much. * 1/2
January 27, 2014
There is actually something of the macabre to this slasher. It wins points for being relatively unique and exercising a rather devilish sense of humour.
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