Beyond Happy Death Day: 10 Thrilling Movies You Can’t Miss

By Amanda Guarragi
Published: August 4, 2023 (Last updated: January 20, 2024)
10 Movies like Happy Death Day you must watch
Theresa "Tree" Gelbman played by Jessica Rothe in Happy Death Day (Credit to Universal Pictures)

In 2017 director Christopher Landon took on a time-loop horror with Happy Death Day, and to celebrate its success, I’ve put together 10 similar movies you must watch. The story is about a college student who relives the day of her murder over and over again in a loop that will only end when she discovers the killer’s identity. This horror comedy is far-fetched, but it works so well because of the time loop. Naturally, you would think that the cops would have found out who murdered her by now, but it’s up to Tree (Jessica Rothe) to figure it out on her own to end the loop.

Scream (1996) 

In Wes Craven’s horror masterpiece, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is terrorized by a masked killer who targets her and her friends by using horror movie tropes as part of a deadly game. Even though this came out in the ’90s, this was the blueprint for understanding all horror conventions and how to properly utilize them in constructing a memorable horror movie.

Edge of Tomorrow (2014) 

This film falls into the repetition of the same day being lived over and over again, similar to Happy Death Day. A soldier fights aliens and gets to relive the same day while learning how they operate. The more he respawns, the more he finds out about the base he’s on and who he’s working for.

Barbarian (2022)

Zach Cregger’s Barbarian is an under-appreciated original horror film that was released last year. 2022 had plenty of strong horror movies that would surprise anyone and this one was incredibly unique in its style and story structure.

A woman stays at an Airbnb one night and discovers that the house she has rented is not what it seems. As she spirals out of control with fear and paranoia, she also steps deeper into the home that she’s staying in.

Freaky (2020) 

After swapping bodies with a deranged serial killer, a high-school senior discovers that she has fewer than 24 hours before the change becomes permanent. Kathryn Newton and Vince Vaughn are dynamite in this, and the horror comedy is something everyone needs to watch.

It was an unexpected film that brought so much joy to the genre, especially seeing Vaughn try to act like a teenage girl.

Source Code (2011) 

A soldier wakes up in someone else’s body and discovers he’s part of an experimental government program to find the bomber of a commuter train within 8 minutes. The body swap is done incredibly well by Jake Gyllenhaal and director Duncan Jones.

This falls into more of a mystery thriller than horror, but it still deals with an out-of-body experience for the protagonist.

Final Destination (2000) 

For anyone who is afraid of going on planes, this is not a horror movie to watch. Alex Browning is among a group of high school students on a trip to Europe. He suddenly has a premonition their airplane will crash, he screams to warn the others but is thrown off the plane, and the plane crashes after they get off.

What happens with these premonitions is that there are other crazy events that happen to the rest of the passengers on that plane. This franchise continues to get more brutal with the kills, and it is what makes it so memorable.

Ready or Not (2019) 

Co-directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett made an underrated horror comedy that made Samara Weaving a star. A bride’s wedding night takes a sinister turn when her eccentric new in-laws force her to take part in a terrifying game. She has easily become one of the best modern-day final girls with this film.

Flatliners (2017) 

Five medical students, obsessed by what lies beyond the confines of life, embark on a daring experiment: by stopping their hearts for short periods, each triggers a near-death experience – giving them a firsthand account of the afterlife.

This is the remake of the original 1990s film of the same name directed by Joel Schumacher that became a cult classic because of the young cast, including Kevin Bacon, Kiefer Sutherland, and Julia Roberts.

Fantasy Island (2020) 

When the owner and operator of a luxurious island invites a collection of guests to live out their most elaborate fantasies in relative seclusion, chaos quickly descends. This is another horror mystery that was fun to watch and became an unexpected favorite of that year.

Even though it isn’t the strongest with acting performances, it’s still fun to watch because of the concept.

Truth or Dare (2018) 

Another Lucy Hale horror film is on the list because she worked with director Jeff Wadlow on Fantasy Island two years later. A harmless game of Truth or Dare among friends turns deadly when someone – or something – begins to punish those who tell a lie or refuse the dare.

Do you have any other recommendations for movies like Happy Death Day? Let us know in the comments.

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