“Totally Killer,” Amazon Prime’s new time-travel horror comedy released Friday, feels like just another Halloween movie.
The film follows 17-year-old Jamie as she hunts for the Sweet Sixteen Killer, who killed Jamie’s mother’s friends in 1987. In the film, the killer has returned 36 years later to attack Jamie and her mom. While escaping the killer, she stumbles into her friend’s time machine, built for a school project, and accidentally travels back to the year of the original murders.
When meeting her parents as teenagers, Jamie realizes they are a part of a stereotypically popular and mean clique. This makes it hard for her to talk to them and convince them that their lives are in danger.
The movie sets out to be a classic comedic slasher film while setting itself apart from the bunch with the added time travel plotline. However, it leaves its audience confused.
The characters did not question Jamie’s ability to travel back in time, and even accepted it with little explanation.
Also, the movie introduces the idea of time travel through a character who just happens to be building a time machine for a school project. To me, this didn’t feel well thought out.
The film relied heavily on ‘80s nostalgia, which has been common in movies of this genre over the past few years. But that’s largely why I feel this film blends in with so many others.
The movie is self-aware, poking fun at the fact that most time travel movies “never make sense.” However, this line feels like it was only added to cover up the film’s perplexing, convoluted plot.In the end, we find out the original 1987 killer, a child named Doug who wanted revenge on his bullies, is not the same killer as the 2023 timeline’s suspect. In the present day, the killer is Chris, a true crime podcast host who wanted better content for his show.
Although the plot twist was interesting and the movie was enjoyable, those elements alone were not enough for it to differentiate itself from standard horror film tropes. It also failed to execute its extravagant, complicated plotlines — ultimately, they didn’t add much to the story.
I think the added aspect of time travel might have hurt this film more than it helped. Other than the end reveal, time travel did not feel critical to the storyline.
Ultimately, “Totally Killer” was a fun slasher comedy with a twist, but raised too many unanswered questions and did not stick out among the many other horror films recently released to streaming.