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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

Totally Killer (2023) - Jamie vs. The Sweet Sixteen Killer

Rating: ★★★½☆ (3.5/5 stars)

Released 10-06-2023

Watched 05-17-2024

Reviewed 05-21-2024

Watched on Prime Video

"You will become a miserable person, never knowing true happiness, and rocking an unflattering haircut that makes your head look like a ping pong ball."

"Totally Killer" (2023) is a delightful blend of horror and comedy that delivers a nostalgic yet fresh experience. Directed by Nahnatchka Khan, the film strikes a balance between thrills and laughs, reminiscent of classic slasher films with a modern twist.

The story follows Jamie (Kiernan Shipka), a teenager who inadvertently travels back to 1987, the year her mother, Pam (Julie Bowen), narrowly escaped the clutches of a notorious serial killer known as the Sweet Sixteen Killer. Jamie finds herself in a race against time to prevent the murders of her mother’s high school friends and ultimately stop the killer, all while navigating the quirky and often hilarious culture of the '80s.

Kiernan Shipka shines in her role as Jamie, bringing a blend of wit, charm, and tenacity. Her interactions with her young mother, portrayed by a lively and energetic Olivia Holt, provide the film's emotional core. The mother-daughter dynamic, albeit in a twisted temporal setting, adds depth to what could have easily been a straightforward slasher flick.

The film's success lies in its self-awareness and its playful homage to the horror genre. The screenplay, penned by David Matalon, Sasha Perl-Raver, and Jen D’Angelo, is sharp and filled with clever nods to iconic '80s films. The dialogue is snappy, often eliciting genuine laughs, and the suspense is maintained throughout with well-crafted scares and inventive kills.

One of the standout aspects of "Totally Killer" is its vibrant and authentic depiction of the 1980s. The production design, costumes, and soundtrack are all meticulously chosen, transporting viewers back to the era of big hair, neon colors, and synthesizer music. The attention to detail is commendable and adds to the film's overall charm.

Some characters, particularly the high school friends, come off as stereotypical and lack depth, which can be a bit jarring in an otherwise well-crafted narrative.

Despite these minor shortcomings, "Totally Killer" is a fun and entertaining ride. It offers a perfect blend of horror and comedy, making it an enjoyable watch for fans of both genres. The film’s nostalgic nods and clever writing keep it engaging, while its heartfelt moments provide a surprising emotional punch.

Overall, "Totally Killer" earns a solid 3.5 stars. It’s a love letter to the '80s slasher genre with a modern twist, providing enough thrills, laughs, and heart to satisfy a wide audience.

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