The killer comes after Jamie, there is an accident, and the time machine works sending her back to nineteen eighty seven where she meets her mom and the soon to be dead friends. After the initial shock of finding out that her mom was a mean girl in high school she figures if she stops the killer in the past, they won’t be around to murder her mom in the future. Enlisting the aid of a teenage Lauren (Amelia’s mom whose plans she used to make the time machine) she goes about trying to change history. She does but it only results in changing the location and order of the murders. Can she stop the killer? Will she figure out who the killer is? Will she be trapped in the past? No spoilers from me.
Initially this sounded a lot like The Final Girls or Happy Death Day to me. I liked both of those movies so that was fine. That said I have to say that while the story is somewhat similar Totally Killer takes it in a different direction. There is some fish out of water humor, but it is tempered with some nasty kills. I’m not political but Jamie being triggered by “inappropriate” stuff from the eighties like the FBI (Federal Boobies Inspector) t-shirt or the problematic school mascot isn’t funny to me. But then we get to the dodgeball game, and I’ll admit it made me laugh. Plus, they don’t linger on this stuff but use it to show the character having to adjust to the past. In the end it was a lot cleverer and more nuanced than I thought it was going to be.
The kills aren’t overly complicated. Instead they lean in on the brutality. From the first kill of Jamie’s mother in the present to the deaths of the girls in the past the camera doesn’t pull away from them being stabbed sixteen times on screen while screaming. It was sort of disturbing in how the kills are staged. They also do a very clever bit with the first kill. The older Pam (Jamie’s mother) is played by a very recognizable face. Julie Bowen from Modern Family and Hubie Halloween (a personal favorite) dies very messily setting the tone for the rest of the violence in Totally Killer. That has a bit of a Psycho sort of surprise no one is safe vibe to it. This again goes back to how well thought out and written the script is.
Between this and Killer Book Club I’ve had some excellent luck recently with these new takes on the slasher genre. Should I press my luck? Probably not. Regardless this movie is well worth your time.
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