This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the film being covered here wouldn’t exist.
Happy Halloween, kids! Or not so happy, if your mom spends the spooky season remembering the time her friends got horribly murdered. That’s part of the setup of Prime Video’s Totally Killer, but it’s the other part that gives the movie its hook: Jamie (Kiernan Shipka) encounters a similarly masked murderer in the present, and in the process of trying to escape, winds up time-traveling back to 1987, where she tries to stop the original murders from ever happening. And then there’s the whole matter of getting back to her own time.
As Randall Park’s Sheriff Dennis Lim says when Jamie tries to explain her situation, “Hate time travel movies. They never make any sense.” But we’re not here for sense. We’re here for ’80s fashions and discovering that one’s mother was a mean girl and totally wowing kids of the past by telling them just how high they can get on a single gummy in the future. (I don’t know if telling them about TikTok is such a good idea, though.)
Totally Killer has the perfect behind-the-camera lineup for a teen movie that’s also a genuine slasher: It’s directed by Nahnatchka Khan (Always Be My Maybe), and produced by Blumhouse’s Jason Blum. David Matalon, Sasha Perl-Raver, and Jen D’Angelo wrote the script. Along with Shipka (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), the movie stars Julie Bowen (Modern Family) as her mom and Lochlyn Munro (Betty’s killer pops on Riverdale) as her dad, with Olivia Holt (Cloak & Dagger) and Charlie Gillespie (Julie and the Phantoms) as the teen versions of said parents.
One cannot possibly understate the number of confused, skeptical, or otherwise perplexed faces Shipka makes just in the trailer for this film; that tally alone may be another perfectly valid reason to watch it. Totally Killer arrives on Prime Video on October 6th.