High school junior Jamie has the chance of a lifetime to correct the wrongs of history when she is accidentally sent to the past in her best friend’s time machine.
Having just escaped the resurgence of the Sweet Sixteen Killer, Jamie quickly realizes that she has been sent back in time to 1987, days before the killer is due to murder her teenage mother’s friends.
Kiernan Shipka is bold and brilliant in a story that uses her as an anchor to ground it in emotional depth and present-day pop culture references while also having her call out the problematic behavior of the 1980s.
Olivia Holt shines as Pam Miller, Jamie’s bullying teenage mother, similar to the likes of Regina George and the Plastics. Pam’s character development truly begins to kick in as her friends die, leaving Pam to show inklings of the adult woman she becomes later.
Totally Killer finds a fun line between jokes of Jamie desperately trying to cover up her true connection to Pam while still learning more about who her mother had been as a teenager and how the deaths of her friends had affected her in years to come.
Totally Killer embraces time travel, basing it on the concept that all of Jamie’s changes will affect the timeline, similar to Marty McFly’s adventure in Back To The Future, which gets plenty of references in Totally Killer as well.
The adventure leans into plenty of horror movie tropes and opens them up to be blatantly made fun of, including teenagers choosing to spend time alone in an isolated cabin in the woods, knowing there is a murderer on the loose.
By making the film’s storyline surrounding stopping the killer, rather than questioning their true identity, it allows for the mystery to play out without making it a constant guessing game for the audience, even if the movie does put in the work to put a few suspects into the mix.
Although Totally Killer is a horror movie, its decision to veer toward a more comical approach allows it to perfectly mix the two genres together.