Thirty-five years ago, in 1987, three women were brutally murdered in a suburb known as North Vernon. Each victim was stabbed sixteen times. The newspaper named the killer “Sweet 16,” and witnesses had spotted the ruthless murderer wearing all black and a mask. In the present day, when Halloween arrives, people continue to talk about the killer and even dress up in the same outfit.
However, 17-year-old Jamie (Kiernan Shipka) refuses to live in fear of the killer. Her mother, Pam (Julie Bowen), however, is concerned for Jamie’s safety. After all, Pam’s best friends were the ones who were brutally murdered in 1987. When Jamie goes to a rock concert with her close friends, the mysterious killer surfaces, seeking its next victim, and successfully murders someone close to Jamie. Now, for some strange reason, the killer begins to go after Jamie. During a confrontation with the killer, Jamie is accidentally sent back to 1987. Now, Jamie will attempt to blend in while also trying to prevent the killer from murdering three young girls. Jamie encounters many familiar faces, including her mother and father, while they are in high school. Can Jamie change history and find a way to return to the future?
Totally Killer is best described as a horror comedy. Produced by the well-known Jason Blum, aka Blumhouse, the film’s premise and outline are highly familiar, particularly to the titles Happy Death Day and Happy Death Day 2U, which, fun fact, were also produced by Jason Blum. Here, we have a young teen travelling back in time and trying to prevent murders with a new mysterious serial killer who enjoys wearing a rubber mask.
While familiar, I still had a great time with this film. As for comedy, there are many pop-culture references made throughout and gags relating to changes in time, including how easy it is for Jamie to enrol in a new school during 1987 without paperwork or further questioning required. I also loved how the film knows exactly what it is and makes fun of itself at various moments. The soundtrack (Michael Andrews) is great, and the atmosphere of the 80s is fantastic. For those who love a mystery, yes, the film does deliver a few twists and turns, and naturally, there is a lengthy list of suspects here. I found some key reveals evident and predictable, but I still enjoyed the ride and the effortless fun it takes to watch this film.
Overall, despite Totally Killer carrying a highly familiar story and concept to titles such as Happy Death Day, I still had a great time. It’s brainless, fun, and clever. The many gags made about time travel, film, pop culture, and other relatable factors are impossible not to respond to with a few chuckles here and there. If you love the 80s, the soundtrack is a blast. The mystery aspect does carry an element of predictability, but again, I still had a good time. The film knows exactly what it is and delivers an entertaining ride.