Totally Killer Review

Totally Killer
Totally Killer
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Although Riverdale and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina have ended, Kiernan Shipka will be playing the role of a very irritated teenager who is set to conquer the world in Prime Video’s Totally Killer: A Fun Thriller. However, by “world” I mean deranged serial killer and 1980s culture. Despite having played this genre before it is best performed here by Shipka in collaboration with director Nahanatchka Khan known for Always Be My Maybe and Fresh Off the Boat as a cross between Scream and Disney Channel original movie. For clarity’s sake: This should be taken as a compliment.

Shipka plays Jamie Hughes, an average teen who wants her mom to totally cool down dude. Yet Pam Hughes (Julie Bowen) is not your standard mother either. Not only does she give off vibes such as “PTA very engaged.” But she also happened to live through a murder spree that was done by the Sweet Sixteen Killer in 1987. Pam is definitely Overbearing Mom of the Year because three of her friends weren’t so lucky, but why would teenagers ever worry about parental reasoning – especially when it comes to cinema?

And what’s one of those movies without a traumatic event that helps the teenager realize all the things they took for granted? Once tragedy hits her family, Jamie will do whatever it takes to make things right again. However, one small problem exists; now Sweet Sixteen Killer has returned and he seems to develop a high interest in Pam’s only child (Lochlyn Munro) named Blake Hughes among others I guess. Now this girl gets into an altercation with him which sends her back in time up until 1987 during which she sees what can be changed if she avoids meeting an annoying serial killer wearing a mask made from rubber.

All those Back To The Future references you expected are on full display here without coming across as cheesy. What makes Totally Killer most refreshing in terms of its portrayal of the 80s is that it doesn’t go overboard with the loud signs of that period except for the Sweet Sixteen Killer and a few character archetypes; 1987 looks like 1987, not with the overly exaggerated costumes, hair or sets like most other nostalgic pieces. The only exception here is the Mollys- mean girls at school who love Molly Ringwald- but it’s just for a bit.

Totally Killer has plenty of heart in it and that’s why it succeeds. Being heartfelt can excuse anything including cheesy visual effects during time travel sequences- especially if it’s on purpose though some will find them irritating. Also this picture does itself some credit by admitting that time-traveling stories are complicated things always breaking their own rules. If you’re one to take teen slasher comedies super seriously (why?), then be warned: Totally Killer throws away logic quite a bit in act three. However, there is so much Shipka sentimental child sometimes screwing up yet loving deeply cliché going on here anyway.

Bowen and Munro are also masters of the economy. This is Jamie’s movie, so they hardly get any screen time at all, but in the very first moments that Bowen appears onscreen she makes you fall in love with her domineering mother character and Munro keeps up his hilarious streak of portraying suspicious fathers of teenage daughters who just might not be murderers. (And we absolutely stan a Riverdale/Chilling Adventures of Sabrina reunion!) It was also interesting to contrast the two Laurens Creston – present-day Lauren played by Kimberly Huie and the 80s version played by Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson. She is Jamie’s best friend Amelia’s mother, played admirably by Kelcey Mawema in this film. You cannot even begin to fathom how intricately connected she is to the survival of those adolescents.

Finally, Totally Killer isn’t breaking any ground but it is still an amazing moment at the cinema. It pays homage aplenty to its inspirations as well as a cast that bears the story triumphantly along. It can’t really be labeled “intro-horror” because some kills may be too much for kids, though it’s perfect for teens wanting an introduction to horror or just easy watching for anyone.

The Judgment

It might not reinvent the wheel but it does manage to blend Scream with Disney Channel Original movies quite well in its way, Totally Killer accomplishes this in many ways: the series’ heartwarming returns with a vengeance against its technical glitches while there’s no denying that it falls into clichéd time loop trappings as it lampoons itself!

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