How often does Tree die in the ‘Happy Death Day’ movies? Her many, many deaths, explained

Jessica Rothe as Tree Gelbman in 'Happy Death Day'
Photo via Blumhouse Productions/Universal

Happy Death Day was lauded as one of the freshest and funniest horror movies we’d had in years when it first released back in 2017. Neatly summed up as “Groundhog Day meets Scream,” the time-loop horror-comedy follows mean sorority sister Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) as she’s stuck reliving her birthday over and over until she can find out the identity of the creep wearing a babyface mask who keeps killing her.

The Christopher Landon film was such a hit for Blumhouse Productions that a sequel quickly followed in the form of 2019’s Happy Death Day 2U, which saw Tree trapped in the same time loop again, but this time in a parallel timeline, meaning she once more had no idea who the killer was. Though a second sequel to complete the trilogy was planned, HDD3 has yet to materialize due to the underwhelming box office performance of the second film.

Although Tree’s storyline is sadly incomplete, the two movies released to date nevertheless offer much for fans to chew on, with their complex time travel mythology requiring multiple viewings to fully appreciate. Obviously, the big question we’re left with after watching any time-loop tale is: how many days was the protagonist trapped for? In the case of Happy Death Day, that question becomes: how many times did Tree die?

Wonder no longer, though, as here’s a full guide to the many, many deaths of Tree Gelbman across both films in the franchise.

Happy Death Day

happy death day
Photo via Blumhouse
  1. Michael Myers Special — Stabbed in the face with a kitchen knife.
  2. Death by bong — Attacked with a broken bong.
  3. Door-to-floor — Stabbed in the stomach with a knife through a door.
  4. Michael Myers Special #2 — Stabbed in the gut with a knife.
  5. Water way to go — Drowned in a water feature.
  6. Stop, bus! — Hit by a bus.
  7. Death by… nudity? — Death unknown, as the only glimpse of this day involved Tree streaking through campus.
  8. Batter down! — Thwacked in the head by a baseball bat.
  9. KABOOM — Locked in a police car, Tree is blown up when Babyface lights up the leaking gas with a birthday cake candle.
  10. Tower trip — In order to reset the day and revive Carter, Tree hangs herself from the bell tower.
  11. Carbs’ll kill ya — Tree finally eats Lori’s cupcake and dies in her sleep from the poison.

Happy Death Day 2U

Happy Death Day 2U
Photo via Blumhouse Productions
  1. Rookie move — Tree accidentally runs off a hospital roof while fleeing Babyface.
  2. Shocking! — Kills herself by throwing a toaster in the bath.
  3. Cleaning out the pipes — suicide by drinking knock-off Drano.
  4. Geronimo! — Jumps out of an airplane without a parachute.
  5. Feeling chipper — Runs face-first into a wood-chipper.
  6. Tower trip #2 — Once again commits suicide by leaping from the bell tower.
  7. KABOOM #2 — Kills herself and Babyface by firing at a gas canister.
  8. Power move — In order to reset the day and revive Carter, Tree plows her car into the power station.

So there you have it. Although we don’t actually see Tree die 11 times in HDD, when recapping her experience in HDD2U, she specifies that she perished on that number of occasions, so we have to take that as fact. Confusingly, ahead of her final death in the first movie, Tree mentions that she’s about to die for the “sixteenth time.” In light of her line in the second film, we can assume that this was just a throwaway comment.

There’s a similar discrepancy in the sequel. Tree is only depicted as dying eight times, mostly by various methods of suicide so she can avoid being stabbed by Babyface. However, when closing the loop, she thanks her friends for helping her for the past “two weeks.” So this may mean that there were further deaths that we didn’t see.

As for Tree’s on-screen demises, however, the official figure is 19. Eat your heart out, Laurie Strode.