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The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Movie Review: New Horror Comedy Movie ‘Totally Killer’ is the Perfect Halloween Pick

Amazon Prime Video released “Totally Killer,” a new comedy horror movie on Thursday, Sept. 28. Director Nahnatcha Khan, known for comedy shows like “Fresh Off the Boat” and “Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23,” partnered with Blumhouse Productions, an indie budget horror film company that produced popular films like “M3GAN” and “Insidious,” to create this new slasher. 

“I had a general meeting off of that with Jason Blum and his team at Blumhouse; I’ve always been a horror fan,” Khan said to Rolling Stone Magazine. “And they sent me ‘Totally Killer.’ Once I got locked into the premise, I was so excited. I was like, ‘Oh, I feel like I can have a lot of fun with this.’ You know, the slasher horror, time travel, the Eighties, there’s a lot of balls in the air here and I felt like it’d be a fun challenge.”

The movie follows sixteen-year-old Jamie Hughes, played by Kiernan Shipka, who lives in a stereotypical small town called Vernon with her mom, Pam, played by Julie Bowen, and dad, Blake, played by Lochlyn Munro. In 1987, a serial killer notarized as the “Sweet 16 Killer” terrorized the town by murdering Pam’s three close friends on their sixteenth birthdays. When the killer returns thirty-five years later and hunts down Jamie and her mother, Jamie time-travels back to 1987 to catch the killer before it’s too late. 

The cast includes familiar favorites like Julie Bowen from “Modern Family” and Kiernan Shipka from “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.” Lovers of Disney Channel’s “Girl Versus Monster” will also be pleased to see Olivia Holt starring in another Halloween movie. 

Totally Killer pays tribute to 1980s slasher films and specifically revives and reinvents the “final girl” trope. A “final girl” is the girl who survives through horror and thriller movies and typically defeats the movie or book’s antagonist. Khan discussed the evolution of the “final girl” from the 1980s to his new film.

I think the progression in the genre was inevitable – starting from ‘the babysitter’s being killed’ slashers and then really giving these women more agency. With a lot of these new movies, and certainly with this one, something that was appealing to me was the idea that even though Jamie is being hunted, and there is a vicious killer on the loose, she’s actually kind of hunting him. She’s propelling the story in a way that feels new to me because she will not stop until she stops him. That unrelenting drive of this young woman who’s at the center of this movie just feels like a new kind of shade on that idea of a final girl,” Khan said to Rolling Stone Magazine.

The film is reminiscent of the cult-classic “Scream” (1996), which is a horror movie with comedic undertones. Khan discussed what films she drew inspiration from in an interview for Fangoria on Oct. 13. 

“Obviously, ‘Back to the Future’ is a big touchstone for this movie. ‘Scream’ is just tonally something everybody aspires to. And then the horror genre, like the straight original ‘Halloween,’ there’s a little bit of a nod there. The original ‘Friday the 13th,’ some of those POV shots. And then some of those ’80s slashers, just having fun with just little tips of the hat here and there,” Khan said.

The comedy is intentionally satirical, poking fun at both Gen Z and Gen X. The mystery portion of the movie is well written, and some great twists keep audiences guessing who the killer is. Additionally, there is a healthy balance between funny and scary. There are some jump-scares, suspenseful moments and more explicit slasher scenes. While some of the slashing noises are a bit morbid and excessive, the movie itself is not likely to be nightmare-inducing for older audiences. This is a great option for anybody looking for a fun, spooky film to add to their Halloween classics.

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About the Contributor
Payton Gore
Payton Gore, News Editor
Payton Gore is a senior from Baltimore, MD concentrating in marine freshwater science with a minor in sociology. She has previously served as a staff writer for the News section. On campus, Payton is a Senior Admission Intern in the Office of Admission, a Bystander Intervention Facilitator at Shaw Wellness Center, and is involved in the Club Squash Team.

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