Not quite totally killer, but definitely fun enough.
In the vein of classic 80s films, Totally Killer is an homage to the genres that got its heyday in the decade. This film happens to be a serial killer mystery, a time-travel sci-fi adventure, and a teen comedy all at once. With mentions of Back to the Future and Molly Ringwald, the new addition to the Prime Video’s current horror roster makes a throwback to when these genres were at its peak. But these throwbacks aren’t just for style – like how true crime rehashes old cases for content, the small town of Vernon still rehashes the serial murders for entertainment, as if stuck and unable to move on from its glory days. Admittedly, this film does the same sin. Plenty of the twists and turns can feel predictable to those familiar with 80s movies. But the multi-genre mix still feels like a fun ride, even when it contradicts the point it’s making.
With 2020’s obsession with nostalgia, newer films set in older times like to reference titles from decades past in order to get its point across. That being said, sometimes these references feel entirely too self-conscious, and backtrack so much on what it’s trying to be, to ensure they don’t recreate certain outdated and problematic tropes. Totally Killer doesn’t do that. The film seems to be confident in its own comedy, lightly stepping on what’s past to move on to the current present. It makes the film decidedly anti-nostalgia, as the Gen Z protagonist goes back to a time where she knows better (in both upcoming murders and casual underhanded jokes).