The “Final Girl” stays a horror film staple.
She’s the final girl standing in a slasher movie, the plucky gal who survives the rampage of Michael, Freddy or Jason.
Name the heroine of “Totally Killer” the “Insufferable Girl.”
Sure, we’re meant to root for her survival, however alongside the best way this social justice warrior lectures anybody in her path.
That’s problematic! That’s offensive! That’s sexist!
It’s only one motive “Totally Killer” can’t discover that candy horror-comedy groove. It’s neither scary nor humorous, and the few glib bullseyes can’t make up for the handfuls of missed alternatives.
Kiernan Shipka is Jamie, a typical twenty first century teen who resents something her momma does or says. Stated mother, performed by “Modern Family” alum Julie Bowen, harbors a darkish secret that dates again to the Nineteen Eighties.
Three of mother’s highschool classmates have been murdered by the “Sweet Sixteen” killer, a fiend who comes again practically 40 years later to stalk Bowen’s character.
Good factor Jamie’s finest pal is a super-scientist who created a time machine in her spare time. Jamie makes use of the system to return to 1987 and attempt to cease the serial killer earlier than he can wipe out Mother’s associates.
The setup provides a ripe tradition conflict situation, from apparent style fake pas to different modifications through the years. Screenwriters David Matalon, Sasha Perl-Raver and Jen D’Angelo as an alternative lean into Jamie’s woke bona fides, letting her lecture everybody round her how “wrong” they’re about … every part.
A easy eye roll would possibly suffice, however Jamie is simply too righteous for that.
None of this is able to crush the movie if not for its unrelenting mediocrity. The kills are boring, the villain as generic as his vanilla masks and good luck getting previous a smile or two on the comedy entrance.
Jamie’s mother is a Imply Woman on steroids, one other intriguing subplot that doesn’t go wherever. And having Jamie name her youthful mom “Mom” however was “Mamacita” not as soon as however twice … is a operating gag that pulled a calf muscle the primary time ‘spherical.
A couple of cultural clashes land, like how too many dad and mom smoked of their vehicles in the course of the Nineteen Eighties. It’s additionally amusing to recall the lax safety measures faculties employed within the analog age.
In any other case, the movie’s ’80s setting is mere window dressing, an opportunity to interrupt out shoulder pads and poofed-up hair.
The movie’s third act does supply a shock or two, but it surely’s damage by ripping off one other horror film franchise.
And we’re previous the time when mentioning “a cabin in the woods” is something however stale in a horror comedy. They made a film with that title, gang. It’s effectively previous time to retire that reference.
Shipka manages to remain considerably likable regardless of her character’s unfailing knack to “fix” everybody’s “mistakes.” A greater screenplay might need had some enjoyable with that, taking her down a peg or two whereas additionally acknowledging the cultural progress made because the Nineteen Eighties.
Not an opportunity. She’s seen as virtuous, not smug. Extra wasted potential.
Again to the Future however make it murder-y!
Completely Killer, out now. pic.twitter.com/c5PiDrhE5R
— Prime Video (@PrimeVideo) October 6, 2023
“Totally Killer” teems with woke storytelling tropes. The movie’s brainy sorts are all girls, for starters. They strike the very best blows in opposition to the killer, after all, and might stand toe-to-toe with them when wanted.
We even get an epilogue that squeezes in a single final advantage sign. Higher late than by no means!
The movie’s time-travel narrative tries its finest to be as plausible as doable, even name-checking “Back to the Future” a time or two. We don’t count on scientific constancy out of those films, only a candy hybrid of snickers and scares.
The Prime Video authentic comes up small on each fronts.
HiT or Miss: Few movies pack the horror-comedy potential that “Totally Killer” possesses. That’s why it’s a disgrace it will possibly’t dwell as much as it. In any respect.