Sometimes a streaming original will be a pleasant surprise, and that’s the case with “Totally Killer”. It is a great blend of self-aware humor and classic slasher vibes. The Sweet Sixteen Killer emerges 35 years after his original killing spree, intending to finish the victims he missed the first time. Jamie, a teenager who’s Mother was connected to the original victims, accidentally goes back in time to 1987. She uses this opportunity to find the killer before his original killing spree happens. Will she be able to help, or will her actions change the events of history?
If I were to describe “Totally Killer”, it’s like “Happy Death Day” and “Back to the Future” had a baby. “Scream” also seems to be an influence. The movie is chalk full of nods to the modern day and age. It also commits to the 80s style during that segment of the story. Seeing Jamie’s new wave lifestyle thrown into a different era of style and ideologies was very entertaining. Jamie is a likeable character that has to carry much of the story on her shoulders. The mystery side is well done too. I was never able to discern who the killer was (although I had my predictions). This strengthens the mission Jamie is on by creating levels of distrust amongst everyone.
I also enjoyed that the film is able to make fun of itself. Too often are films taking themselves seriously when they should be more self-aware. I say that as someone who isn’t the biggest fan of campy horror movies. But in this circumstance, letting loose and having fun are in the story’s favor. Jamie is a character that would be seen as “woke” or a “social justice warrior” while many of the characters she meets in the 80s would be considered culturally insensitive. Each side takes some heat and gleefully leans into the stereotypes, making everyone involved vulnerable to a joke. I appreciated that there was not a one sided battering, which many movies are guilty of nowadays. When we are able to laugh at ourselves, everyone is more comfortable. I hope more filmmakers take this approach.
The film is pretty re-watchable too. Much like “Scream” and “Happy Death Day”, there are parts of the story that are fun to examine on a second viewing. Noting where the killer is during a sequence while paying attention to how everything is executed was a lot of fun. That’s just it too…the film is fun! The runtime is perfectly suitable and the pacing is quick and energetic. Most viewers will be able to find some enjoyment in this one. The performances are also quite good all around. The actors lean into the tone and really sell the story at hand.
“Totally Killer” does a lot right, but there are a few shortcomings. Being that this is a digital release, I feel that the small budget was noticeable on the special effects. During the killing sequences, it is obvious that no one is actually being stabbed. The blood is either digitally applied or was cheaply produced. Either way, it was not very believable. Even in a silly movie like this, having the death scenes executed properly is important.
Some of the dialogue was noticeably weak too. There were a few instances where I was surprised that the script was approved for said scene. I couldn’t tell if this was intentional with the silly nature of the film or if this was another issue with the film’s production, In any case, this aspect could have been stronger.
“Totally Killer” is totally worth it. I’d definitely recommend checking this one out during the horror movie season. It will satisfy fans of classic slashers as well as those who aren’t fans of really scary movies. There’s something or everyone here, making it one of the best “horror” movies of the year. It pokes fun throughout and has many surprises. What more could you ask for?