I'm going to the movies tonight, and I came close to seeing Happy Death Day on the eve of my birthday, which is tomorrow.
However, my wife talked me out of it, asking me to wait and see it with her, and for good reason. She and I were, at one time, developing a script on a similar idea, in whose coffin the nails have now been finally, definitively, driven.
I actually don't really know much about Happy Death Day -- if I'm not mistaken, it's a horror version of Groundhog Day or Edge of Tomorrow -- but the thing it has in common with our idea is also the best thing about our idea: its title.
Our movie was to have been called Death Day, and since I'm pretty sure we'll never make it (especially now), I'll give you its general idea. It's the story of a mystical device found by a bunch of kids (we think) that can predict the day you're going to day -- but not the year. So the bulk of the narrative would be about the characters taking precautionary measures each year their death day arrives, but also about an increasing alignment of all the predicted death days the more people they test -- suggesting a possible apocalypse that they must work to try to prevent.
I always loved my idea for a tagline: "What if you knew the day you were going to die ... but not the year?"
Although we thought it had a great high concept, the details were difficult enough to pin down that we could never really crack it.
Now, it looks like we've been dealt the Death blow.
It's not that Happy Death Day kills our idea, as ours is probably pretty different than the one explored here. But if we don't have the title going for us, what do we have?
We were working seriously on this right about ten years ago. I know this because we were also planning our wedding, which was in April of 2008, at the time. I know this because I remember a particularly productive Sunday afternoon where not only did we have a breakthrough on the story idea, but we also resolved like three big nagging wedding planning issues. I still remember that day as one of the most productive I have ever had.
Well, we did get married, but we never made Death Day.
And that's okay. We really couldn't crack it. The arrival of Happy Death Day only acts as a symbolic confirmation of what we already knew.
And so I won't see it tonight, but sometime a couple months from now, I will sit down with my wife to watch it. We'll have a glass of wine and commemorate what never quite was.
And who knows, maybe we'll be inspired to think up our next great idea.