Happy Birthday to Me (1981) **
D: J. Lee Thompson
C: Glenn Ford, Melissa Sue Anderson, Lawrence Dane, Sharon Acker, Frances Hyland, Tracey E. Bregman, Lisa Langlois, Matt Craven
P: The members of "The Top 10", a high school clique for the school's most popular students, are being picked off one by one and it seems as though their deaths are connected to one of their members who has an upcoming birthday.
Over the top, overlong, melodramatic slasher / psychological drama. Happy Birthday to Me suffers from one fatal flaw - it's just plain out boring.
Clocking in at 108 minutes, Happy Birthday to Me is clearly way too long. It's one of those films where they could have easily excised at least 20 minutes of footage as there's long stretches where not much of anything happens. Throwing in a veteran actor like Glenn Ford or an atmospheric score does little to camouflage the film's inherent weakness in that department.
As for the much talked about death sequences, there is three standout death sequences. There's no denying it. They were creative and one of a kind for their time. There's also a ridiculous, but most unexpected double twist ending. This is the thing though, those three standout death sequences and that twist ending make up less then 10 minutes of actual screen time. So viewers are going to have to decide if it is truly worth it, to sit through at least a good 95 minutes of film that is for the most part boring, repetitive and tiresome. [R] 108 mins.
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