Movie Review: Happy Birthday to Me (1981)

Starring: Melissa Sue Anderson, Glenn Ford and Tracey E. Bregman

Directed by: J. Lee Thompson

It’s fast approaching Virginia’s birthday but in the build up to her big day her friends start mysteriously disappearing. It’s only when it’s the day of her birthday that the truth gets revealed and the whereabouts of her friends becomes known.

The horror genre in the eighties was as strong as it had ever been and really is the decade where some of the all time great horror movies and franchises were born. While there was a huge amount of success to be had during that time period, unfortunately not every horror movie made lived up to the standards of The Evil Dead, Re-Animator, The Fly and The Things as the list can go on and on.

Frustratingly this was the case with Happy Birthday to Me as it truly was atrocious with the only good thing going for it was it’s lack of predictability and a couple of half decent murder scenes. I don’t think I’ve ever hated a main character more that I did Virginia, played by the shockingly bad Melissa Sue Anderson. I realise I shouldn’t expect wonders in terms of acting ability in low budget horrors such as this but I do expect a smidge of talent or ability. In addition to Melissa Sue Anderson, the rest of the cast were pretty abysmal at displaying any kind of credible acting and at close to two hours long this movie was such a horrendous drag and felt like much longer. The script was also incredibly basic as it almost felt like it was the first draft which was quickly scribbled down but never made it as far as a final draft and they just ran with whatever they had.

Overall, this was a horrible movie that was painful to watch. There were many times during the course of the movie that I wanted to turn it off but persevered and made it to the bitter end. I guess I will have to be a little more cautious as I browse through the “recommended for you” section on Netflix.


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