Totally Killer (2023): Fresh Meat #16

I’m a little behind, I must admit. There was so much released a few Fridays ago, with a new V/H/S entry, a new Exorcist, Totally Killer, the Pet Sematary prequel, I just couldn’t keep up. I’m finally making up for that. 


When the infamous “Sweet Sixteen Killer” returns 35 years after his first murder spree to claim another victim, 17-year-old Jamie accidentally travels back in time to 1987, determined to stop the killer before he can start. 

IMDb: 6.6 

Rotten Tomatoes: 86% 

Tagline: Murder is so 1987. 

Nahnatchka Khan directed the film, her sophomore effort in feature directing, having spent a good number of years writing and producing TV. Interesting tidbit: Her brother is Nick Khan, the president and co-CEO of WWE. 

If you haven’t seen the 2015 film, The Final Girls, do yourself a favor and watch it. It’s an incredibly fun slasher film that transports its characters into the middle of an ACTUAL 80s slasher film. Totally Killer shares a LOT of similarities with The Final Girls. They truly hit the same beats. Both films even feature the two most annoying unfunny actors on the planet, Adam Devine (The Final Girls) and Lochlyn Munro (Totally Killer). 

I love Julie Bowen (Modern Family), don’t get me wrong, but her role makes me cringe. She’s like the Laurie Strode legacy character. She’s waiting for the big bad to return and suddenly jumps into action, like she’s been training her whole life to fight him off with guns, knives, jiu jitsu, karate, wrestling, I mean, she’s John frickin’ Rambo against the guy. I can’t stand that. It’s become cliché now after seeing a buff Sarah Connor do it in 1991. 

I get this might be fun and fresh if such a similar movie hadn’t been made eight years prior. Both major characters are even mourning their dead mother! This one tends to play for a bit more dumb laughs, where I felt like The Final Girls was more appropriate to the horror/slasher genre and its overly generic tropes and stereotypical characters. One tends to be making fun of the 80s, while the other one is a love letter to the horror films of the 80s.  

And while we are talking about inspiration, this film totally wears its Back to the Future influence on its sleeve, even going so far as to mention the movie several times. I love that movie, but I never thought this would be the kind of film that would carry that torch for the next generation. 

Overall, it’s a good time waster, and as an avid fan of the 80s, I enjoyed the film for what it is. It’s funny, and witty, but it’s completely forgettable and mundane. The killer is fairly tame and gets his ass kicked every chance he gets, and even takes more bumps than Ghostface. The two of them could compare bruises and war wounds and it would take around ten minutes to do so. What I get frustrated with, is that this girl gets sent back in time to stop a killer, knowing all the details of each killing, and fails spectacularly at every turn. Her and the killer are both utter losers in their respective roles in the movie. 

Like I said, it’s played more for laughs and not of the intelligent kind. The jokes are funny, but not the kind of funny that you run and tell everyone about after seeing it. Unfortunately, when you watch it with your kids, they are going to think the 80s were full of non-PC airheads and sex crazed bimbos. The 80s were fun, dammit. We weren’t all bumbling idiots. 

I never thought I would say something like this, but I think it would have played better as a PG-13 film. They should have tried to attract a younger audience, because the people who typically will watch this film grew up during the time period that Totally Killer is making fun of.  

Fuckin’ time travel. 

6.0/10 Stab Wounds 

About RetRo(n) 61 Articles
I like the 80s, slasher films, Italian directors, Evil Ed, Trash and Nancy, Ripley and Private First Class Hudson, retro crap but not SyFy crap, old school skin, Freddy and Savini, Spinell and Coscarelli, Andre Toulon, and last, but not least, Linda Blair.