If it's October, then it must be time for a Blumhouse fright film. If that name doesn't resonate with you, then just think of "Paranormal Activity", "Ouija", "The Purge", "Insidious", "Sinister" and others. They're the guys who chased Lionsgate ("Saw") out of the fright flick business.


They have a basic business model that includes an entire development budget - producing, casting and promoting - of no more than $5 million or so. They advertise the crap out of it with trailers that show every scream and eek and clear $10 million-plus on the opening weekend. If by chance the film is moderately amusing, they make even more money. Easy peasy!


Their most amusing films were "Paranormal Activity", "The Purge", "Get Out", "Split" and "The Visit". "Get Out" cost them $4.5 million to produce and earned them a cool, clean $253-million globally. "Paranormal Activity" cost $15 thousand and earned $194 million worldwide. No matter what industry you're in...that's impressive as hell.

This time, they brought back writer/director Christopher Landon ("Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones", "Disturbia") to direct this treatment by little known writer Scott Lobdell. Scott evidently spent a lot of time watching "Ground Hog Day", "Source Code" and "Edge of Tomorrow" because this hardly unique storyline is based on all three. In fact, in one of the last scenes one of the characters refers to Bill Murray's "Ground Hog Day".


In a nutshell, Tree (Jessica Rothe who had a brief shining moment in "La La Land") awakens to find herself in a guy named Carter (Israel Broussard) dorm room after a night of hard partying. She runs out the room in somewhat shame and heads back to her sorority house where her roommate Lori (Ruby Modine) shames her some more. Later that day, on her way to another party, she gets killed by a guy wearing a stupid mask.


Then, just like that, she wakes up and relives the day again. Over and over again each time learning something new about the person behind the mask, but each time getting whacked. Um...does this sound familiar? [Hint: think "Source Code" (2011) and "Edge of Tomorrrow" (2014)]


That's pretty much the gist of the film, the creativity comes with the various ways she gets killed and who gets killed with her. After a while she gets accustomed to the killing until it starts to actually take its toll on her. But it is fun trying to figure out who is killing her; through the process of elimination. But the "twist" near the end is rather lame.


This isn't as hair raising as some of Blumhouse' earlier fright flicks and that might have to do with the PG-13 rating. No one is going to win Oscars, but no one's careers are ruined either.


"Happy Death Day" is moderately amusing for people looking for a harmless amount of general audience gore for the upcoming scare season. It should earn Blumhouse about $10 million in the opening weekend to make an immediate profit.   -- GEOFF BURTON