Totally Killer is Totally Adequate

Meghan Boucher ‘27 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Totally Killer is totally not a horror movie. Sure, there is the occasional jump scare and a little bit of gore, but the humor of the movie transforms it into more of a comedy. From director, 

Nahnatchka Khan, Totally Killer tells the story of the “Sweet Sixteen Killer,” who returns to the small town of Vernon 35 years later to continue his killing spree. In order to stop him before he starts, Jamie Hughes (Kiernan Shipka) travels back in time to 1987. With a slew of interesting side characters, like Jamie’s mom, Pam Hughes (Julie Bowen), and 1987’s Pam (Olivia Holt), the movie holds the audience’s attention for its one hour and forty-six-minute runtime. 

A mix between Halloween and Back to the Future, Totally Killer navigates the nostalgia of the 80s with the threat of a serial killer. What makes this mix coherent is Shipka’s performance. She perfectly balances the absurdity of the premise and switches between comedic and dramatic with ease. It’s the “killer on the loose” element that leaves something to be desired. Through some poor editing choices and bizarre camera movements, the “horror” aspect of the film falls flat, and the entertainment value really relies on the performance of the cast.

However, not even the performances could pull off the cheesy dialogue entirely. There was an overarching commentary throughout the film of what it would be like if a Gen Z-er experienced the 1980s. While the reprimanding of the 80s politically incorrect culture was funny at first, it soon became old and the commentary lost all value. The constant jabs seemed like an attempt to overcompensate for the film’s uninspired premise. 

Totally Killer does nothing new with the concept of a slasher film and the time travel element seems like a deus ex machina meant to solve the issue that the film really had nothing going for it without traveling back to the 80s. Obviously in a campy horror flick, explaining the mechanics and implications of time travel is unnecessary, but the if there is going to be time travel, make it compelling.

Without revealing too much, Shipka travels back in time using a time machine her friend made out of a photo booth for a science fair. The way Shipka gets back is slightly more interesting and is one of the more captivating sequences of the movie, but the whole concept felt not fully fleshed out. This led to a very critical element of the movie to be distracting and uncompelling. 

Perhaps even more uncompelling than the time travel was the ultimate reveal. It became pretty obvious at the midway point who the killer was, and the following twists felt lackluster in execution. Despite this, the lead up to the climax was still very gripping and falling victim to the film’s frequent red herrings made the reveal generally fun to watch. 

Overall, Totally Killer is an appropriately mindless Halloween movie. It’s enjoyable and competent enough to watch it and suspend critical thinking for two hours. It is a fun way to mix slasher film and time travel and does so with meta poise. Is it original or revolutionary? No. Is it genre-defying or an instant classic? Also no. But not all movies have to be. It is totally adequate and that is totally fine. 

Show More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button