Movie Review: Totally Killer (2023)

Synopsis: Teenager Jamie Hughes' mom, Pam, is overprotective to the point of almost smothering her daughter because of the "sweet 16" murders that happened 35 years earlier, leaving three of Pam's friends dead. When the killer re-emerges and murders Pam, Jamie is left devastated and traumatized. Then the killer goes after her at a school science fair and, as she attempts to escape by hiding in her friend's time machine project, Jamie is transported back to 1987, on the day of the first murder, and to save her mom, attempts to stop the killer before he starts.

Who's in it? The movie stars Kiernan Shipka, Olivia HoltCharlie GillespieJulie Bowen and Liana Liberato.

Review: I came across this movie on Amazon Prime a few days ago and, while I had some doubts, was also somewhat intrigued by a slasher movie/murder mystery and convinced my wife to watch it with me last night. Overall, I have to say the movie more than exceeded my expectations.

First of all, time travel movies are always hard to pull off, especially when the person is traveling back in time to change the future (or present) automatically creating a potential paradox. This film does a great job with all of that though, instead taking the "alternate timelines" method of storytelling with gradual changes to the future even as Jamie (Shipka) is trying to find the killer.

I especially liked the way the writers incorporated the Mandela Effect (when a large number of people believe an event occurred when it didn't) as a way to explain the change in the timeline and how, if too much was changed, Jamie risked returning to a world where nobody knew who she was. The latter resulted in some hilarious banter as she attempted to keep her parents from getting together as a couple four years too early, out of fear they would break up before her mom became pregnant with her.

The mystery surrounding the "sweet 16" killer was intriguing as well. The killer had a clear motive since he (or she) was specifically targeting Pam's (Holt) friends, a group of 1980s mean girls. However, there was a long list of suspects and there was no explanation about why the killer didn't even attempt to kill Pam until 35 years later and instead stopped killing after the third victim. I will even admit, even though I had my suspicions, I wasn't able to solve it until the big reveal at the end.

Oh, and I'm going to say I absolutely loved the various twists at the end, when Jamie learns about the new timeline she created. That alone made this movie a bit more memorable than your average slasher movie. I'm not completely sure all the loose ends from her time traveling were completely tied up but as long as I don't think too much about that, I can truly say I enjoyed this film.

Final Opinion: It's a solid slasher movie/mystery with a time traveling twist. I think it is worth taking the time to watch it.

My Grade: A


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