Wednesday, October 4, 2023
A familiar but genial horror movie spoof
Consider it a small achievement. Totally Killer, a movie that channels Back to the Future and a variety of Scream movies, proves watchable and moderately entertaining. Kiernan Shipka plays Jamie, a teenager who time travels back to the moment when her mother (Olivia Holt) was a high-school girl who belonged to “The Mollys,” a group devoted to John Hughes’s star Molly Ringwald. Before Jamie returns to 1987, we meet her parents (Lochlyn Munro and Julie Bowen). Jamie's mission in the past: She wants to stop The Sweet Sixteen Killer, a knife-wielding maniac who terrorized the town in 1987. After a 35-year-hiatus, the killer turns up in the present, evidently to complete a vengeful cycle of murder by killing Jamie's mom. Against the grain of current views about crime-riddled cities, Totally Killer follows the lead of numerous horror movies, taking root a small town. The small-town environment allows Jamie to recognize the teen counterparts of adults she knows in the present. The meeting of mother and daughter — on quasi equal footing — results in some amusing byplay, although director Nahnatchka Khan can’t entirely blend the mix of blood and chuckles. Totally Killer works best as a genre spoof that focuses more on being agreeably familiar than breaking new ground. Available on July 6 on Amazon Prime.