'Totally Killer' Is A Fun Science Fair Slasher Dipped In Mommi Issues!
WOMEN IN STEM...NOW WITH BLUSH!!
This might get cut off in your email so open in your browser, share, and then tell me if you think Sabrina is better than Riverdale. When you choose Sabrina tell me why.
J-Kwon was right…teen drinking is very bad.
Not that anyone in any 80’s slasher movie has ever cared about that. Because even if there is a killer on the loose in their picturesque small town, they are still gonna hop in the hot tub at their rich parent’s house, make out with the (mediocre levels of hot) quarterback, and drink wine coolers until their perm gets fucked up.
Yes, I just painted a scene that happens in multiple slasher films of the 80s but this time it happens in a film that comes out in the year of our American Mary 2023—but takes place (mostly) in 1987. It’s the new Blumhouse (by way of Amazon) horror flick Totally Killer!
It stars our 2nd favorite teen witch—I will not let you people forget Miss Melissa Joan Hart—Kiernan Shipka. She plays Jamie, a teenager in 2022 during spooky season who has your standard caucasian relationship with her mother Pam, played by Julie Bowen. By standard, I mean that she talks to her sweet mother any kinda way while simultaneously raiding her closet for vintage clothing.
We learn that in 1987, the Sweet Sixteen Killer murdered a few of her mom’s besties…and tried to get her too. Well, turns out—HE’S BACK! Because in slasher movie tradition, murderers are like Leos and don’t know how to let things go. So Jamie pulls a Marty McFly, travels back in time to 1987 (two years after Back to the Future was released btw) VIA A PHOTOBOOTH, and pairs up with the teen version of her mama to try and stop all the murders from happening.
I fucking DUG this movie. I will say it again—THE SILLINESS OF EARLY AUGHTS MOVIES ARE BACK IN A BIG WAY. This time we got to mix in the slasher genre that is so beloved…and it worked. Infusing the familiar with the silly in a way that feels fresh is exciting and pretty hard to do. It's a reminder of the charm that defined those early 2000s films—where over-the-top humor, quirky characters, and outlandish plot twists were the norm. Now, we have films like Totally Killer that are trying to be part of this nostalgic revival but for a new generation, and this one did it successfully.
Totally Killer hits on, at minimum, three big genres—horror, comedy, and sci-fi. But each one breathes and thrives as the movie ticks on. What's hella impressive is how these genres seamlessly blend into the narrative, without fighting for dominance in the story. Instead, they just vibe together through the 1 hour 46 minute runtime and flow smoothly from one genre to the next.
It’s directed by Nahnatchka Khan, who is behind one of my favorite shows Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23—which has officially been removed from Hulu—and also had a hand in another throwback I loved, PepperAnn.
Khan has this ability to create stories where the characters are basically relatable and witty assholes. I got a whiff of Don’t Trust… vibes in the character of Teen Pam, played by Olivia Holt. She is a layered bitch, just like Krysten Ritter’s Chloe. She starts off rude with big hair and an amount of blush only Trixie Mattel (and me) would approve of, and as the film goes on…she stays a bitch but also has spots of sweetness that make you want her name added to the list of final girls.
Shipka kills it as Jamie (hahaha) but that’s not a surprise. She has been a star since her Mad Men days when we watched her portray Sally Draper, who managed to survive an absentee father and a manic mother in the 1960s. She deserved all the awards and trophies even then, and she was barely in middle school. She always embodies a role and she’s not stuck in this creepy genre, she is simply choosing to leave her mark on it and revisit it when she wants.
So, while I might not slap the "scream queen" label on Shipka in this role, I’m def fine with giving her hero status. She’s got a leather fringe jacket, mommi issues, and a mission. Totally Killer is a fun and bloody blast and worth watching every minute, plus it’s going to be on Prime. So you get to watch it in the comfort of your own home…or in your parent’s hot tub—whatever works for you.
More Slasher Movies with Babes that I like:
The Fear Street Trilogy
The Final Girls
The soundtrack makes me wanna shave
If you’re straight and you use “camp” to describe this movie you owe me money
I love blood and time machines…but not in a weird way or together
PHOTOBOOTHS ARE FUCKING PERFECT I LOVE THEM SO MUCH!