For the first couple of decades after its release, Groundhog Day was largely (and surprisingly) left alone. Having nailed the premise of a character forced to relive the same day over and over again until they get it right, Hollywood nobly chose to let it lie instead rushing a horde of imitators into production.
The past few years, however, have yielded a bumper crop of retreads encompassing a number of genres. If you want a raunchy comedy, you have your choice of 2014’s Premature, about a high schooler trying and repeatedly failing to lose his virginity; or this year’s Naked, in which Marlon Wayans struggles to make it to his wedding on time after getting drunk the night before. If you want a sci-fi actioner in which Tom Cruise dies over and over for your entertainment, there’s 2014’s Edge of Tomorrow. If you’re in the mood for a moody YA adaptation, you’ve got this year’s Before I Fall, about a popular high school student forced to relive the hours leading up to a fatal car accident.
The latest such film to reach cinemas is Blumhouse’s Happy Death Day, about a college student who relives the day of her murder over and over until she can solve it. To mark its release, Crooked Marquee has drafted a few pitches to see how quickly this concept can get run into the ground. Some of these might be coming soon to a theater near you, but hopefully not.
Get Me to My Kid’s Recital on Time
Zach Galifianakis is slated to star as a driven careerist who doesn’t have enough time for his family. After working late at the office one night, he has to rush to get to his child’s first piano recital. If he doesn’t make it in time to stand at the back of the auditorium and start the slow clap that follows his kid’s note-perfect performance, Zach has to start the day over. Hijinks ensue.
Gunfight at the Not O.K. Corral
In this gritty western, an unassuming cowpoke (to be played by Scott Eastwood) gets caught up in the title gunfight when he picks the wrong day to ride into Tombstone, Ariz. If he sides with the Earps, he invariably gets killed by one of the Clantons. If he sides with the Clantons, he gets killed by one of the Earps. If he tries to stay out of the fight, he gets shot in the crossfire between them. The day keeps repeating until Scott figures out how to live to see the next one.
Kill, Kill Again
If at first you don’t succeed… This throwback horror film follows a masked madman (relieving the filmmakers of having to secure a star) as he hacks and slashes his way through a sorority house full of nubile co-eds. If he’s killed or otherwise incapacitated (e.g. having his hands chopped off by a quick-thinking underclassman with a meat cleaver), he has to start his night of mayhem all over again.
A hot young filmmaker is doomed to remake their first big hit over and over again, only instead of getting better, each time it gets worse and worse. The twist is each time it’s an even bigger hit than it was before. Casting will be dependent on who’s the hottest, youngest filmmaker with the biggest hit at the time the script is optioned.
1600 Is Murder
In this nail-biting thriller, a type-A high school student takes the SAT. If she doesn’t get a perfect score, she has to take it over again. This repeats until she gets a perfect score or goes insane, whichever comes first. Lead role to be played by Betty or Veronica from that Riverdale show people won’t shut up about. Either one will do.
Thanksgiving for Nothing
A dysfunctional family tries to make it through Thanksgiving dinner without getting into an argument over politics. Every time the subject comes up, they have to start dinner over again. James Woods is in talks to play the role of the uncle. This film has no ending.
Whatever Gets You Through the Night
John Early and Kate Berlant are excited to be new parents. The problem is they live in New York City in an apartment building with loud and inconsiderate neighbors. John and Kate would like to get a good night’s sleep, but that means getting their newborn to sleep through the night, and in order to do that, they have to keep their neighbors (a motley crew stacked with past and present cast members from Saturday Night Live) from waking the baby up. Every time it cries, their night starts all over. This will play as comedy to anybody who doesn’t have children and horror to those who do.
It’s Groundhog Day with zombies. What more do you need to know?
Craig J. Clark lives in Bloomington, Ind., where every day is pretty much like the last one anyway.