Totally Killer (2023)
October 7, 2023 9:37 PM - Subscribe

When the infamous "Sweet Sixteen Killer" returns 35 years after his first murder spree to claim another victim, 17-year-old Jamie accidentally travels back in time to 1987, determined to stop the killer before he can start. Starring Kiernan Shipka ("Mad Men") and Julie Bowen ("Modern Family"). Directed by Nahnatchka Khan (Always Be My Maybe).

Currently on Amazon Prime. Reelgood link. This (perhaps a little generously) has a 6.7 on IMDB; 85/82 on RT.

This is a somewhat fluffy horror-comedy but it is rated R. (CW violence and blood). It's somewhere in the vicinity of Happy Death Day and Freaky but a little bit lighter than those.
posted by fleacircus (11 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I admire how willfully stupid it is. She's never seen a photo of her father as a teen? The time machine props. No attempt at realism inside the ride.

Anyway, I kept expecting a frisson of recognition of 1987 — I was 22 — and that never happened. There's now a movie/TV version of the 80s in the popular consciousness that is almost but not quite like the real thing. It's like Taco Bell.

Shipka was easily the best thing about this. But she doesn't much look like a teen anymore.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:59 AM on October 8, 2023

Whoa, this is from the creator of Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23?? Talk about burying the lede, I am watching this film asap.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:44 AM on October 8, 2023 [1 favorite]

I really enjoyed this! Definitely dumb fun, and, well, I was 11 by the end of that year, and it does match my memories either, but I still kinda like the colorful version of the 80's we see depicted nowadays. I was far more at home in the 90's though.

Shipka was easily the best thing about this. But she doesn't much look like a teen anymore.

True...but she doesn't look that much different than she did in Sabrina. I initially figured she was late 20's by now, but she's only 23, so I'm retroactively surprised how young she was when that show started, given usual teen character casting practices.
posted by Pryde at 10:54 AM on October 8, 2023 [1 favorite]

There's now a movie/TV version of the 80s in the popular consciousness that is almost but not quite like the real thing. It's like Taco Bell.

Yeah it was definitely going for jokes, and not accuracy or evocative nostalgia. Like, sure Molly Ringwald was everywhere but not like that. Sure, there was a lot more smoking, but not like that. Stranger Things was more accurate but felt more glaringly wrong to me for taking itself seriously.

Though, the casual misogyny is a solid callback that other 80s things have missed, I think.
posted by fleacircus at 2:12 PM on October 8, 2023 [4 favorites]

I'm doing that 31 horror movies in October and this was my watch from last night.

A huge miss for me. Between this, Happy Death Day, and Freaky, there's this subgenre of meta, ironic, wink-wink horror-comedy that I really dislike. It comes off as smug and insincere and I feel like all the wrong things are being taken from the Scream franchise.

There's some kind of cool bones in here, I especially loved the mask and the main character having to deal with her parents being totally different than she thought, but yeah, otherwise a total whiff.
posted by Neronomius at 11:21 AM on October 9, 2023

I don't really remember the 80s except little fragments of childhood so I can't say it's authentic, but like a lot of period films this one goes wrong because everyone in it is impeccably fashionable even if they're the nerd character. This movie is strangely charming although you should never try to explain time travel in a time travel movie because it always makes it make less sense than if they just rolled with it. Deeply appreciated the waterbed. There really were so many waterbeds back then. Why did everyone have waterbeds. They're the worst.
posted by dis_integration at 8:36 PM on October 9, 2023 [3 favorites]

dis_integration - everyone really did have waterbeds then! I remember the RA in my freshman dorm in college in the very late 80's with a hose flooding the hallway during move-out when her waterbed dismantling went wrong. Something often* seemed to go wrong with waterbeds!

*not always of course, but so, so many wet stories
posted by 41swans at 7:12 AM on October 10, 2023

Yeah I had one in high school, involuntarily. I had to live at my dad's house, and they had an extra bed, but it was a waterbed. I think it was probably bought for sex reasons but they decided it was not good. It was in an attic room, I think it was just too much trouble to get out. It wasn't a real bedroom, it was a room off the closet of the master bedroom. So like to go to the bathroom at night I would have to go through the closet, then bedroom, of my dad and stepmom trying to be as quiet as possible in the creeky old tiny house. Imagine all this plus you're 14, and they kind of hate your guts. It felt like a weird prison.

Anyway our cat punctured holes in it constantly, there were a million little patches all over it.

It was comfortable though.
posted by fleacircus at 11:17 AM on October 10, 2023 [1 favorite]

This was a miss for me. There have been so many 80s horror movies the last few years that you really gotta bring something interesting to the table if you're going to do a retread and horror back to the future was not it for me at all.

Also one thing that all of these tributes miss is how profoundly brown a lot of interior decor in the 80s was. Like yes the clothing was often bright, but interior design was just a lot of brown.

And some of the jokes were just beat to death like how easy it was to get information out of people without verifying. Like ok WE GET IT. It wasn't a particularly sophisticated or even great joke, so there's no reason we need to revisit it multiple times thanks.
posted by miss-lapin at 3:04 AM on October 12, 2023 [1 favorite]

I really wanted to like this but as soon as Shipka gets to the 80s it's like "HEY EVERYBODY TOTALLY RAD IT'S THE 80'S IT'S THE 80'S IT'S THE 80'S LET'S DO SOME COKE AND VOTE FOR RONALD REAGAN" and I found that so offputting I went and did something else.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:17 PM on December 1, 2023 [1 favorite]

I was in 9th grade in 1987, and the gym class definitely resonated for me. The music, not so much--I laughed out loud at the needle drop of Echo & the Bunnymen's "Killing Moon" when they got to the county fair/amusement park; there's no way that place would've been playing anything other than hair metal in 1987.
posted by mabelstreet at 3:23 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]

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