Totally Killer parents guide

Totally Killer Parent Guide

This retro horror comedy isn't terribly scary but it definitely manages to be funny.

Overall D+

Amazon Prime: Three decades after three teens were murdered, the killer returns to claim a new victim. But the killer accidentally sends 17-year-old Jamie back in time to 1987, where she tries to stop the murders before they can happen.

Release date October 6, 2023

Violence D
Sexual Content C
Profanity D
Substance Use D

Why is Totally Killer rated R? The MPAA rated Totally Killer R for bloody violence, language, sexual material, and teen drug/alcohol use.

Run Time: 106 minutes

Parent Movie Review

In 1987, three teen girls in a small town were murdered by a man in a mask who stabbed each of his victims sixteen times, granting him the moniker “The Sweet 16 Killer”. Now in 2023, the killer has seemingly returned to claim another victim. But when he chases Jamie (Kiernan Shipka) into a science fair, she accidentally gets sent back to 1987 by a prototype time machine. Armed with her knowledge of the crime, Jamie teams up with Pam (Olivia Holt), the teenager who will later become her mom, to try to stop the murders before they can happen.

Movies can be judged in many ways. They can be judged on quality, themes, writing, production value… the list goes on. They can also be judged on one of my favorite scales: the Romp-o-Meter. If a movie sets out to be a romp and it succeeds, then that’s a win in my book. Totally Killer is not trying to be anything other than a fun time and it does so with gusto. I give it a full 10 for Romp.

For a campy comedy, the writers manage to do some good work, with lots of well written call backs, surprising twists, and even a bit of character growth. I was left guessing the identity of the killer until the very end and had some fun surprises along the way. It’s a decently funny movie as well, leaning on witty observations of the differences in culture between the two decades that manages to stay clever rather than redundant.

One of the things I appreciate most about this production is that it doesn’t rely on 80s nostalgia. Yes, there are some 80s references and music, but the audience isn’t hit over the head with them. We’ve seen a lot of media recently set in the 80s that drowns in the decade, but this director cleverly keeps the nostalgia to a minimum, allowing for a more realistic and immersive experience.

Although I greatly enjoyed this film, I can’t recommend it for most audiences. Yes, it’s a comedy, but it’s also a horror flick, so there is a lot of blood and violence, although the gore is kept to a minimum. (Those of you who remember 80s slasher horror movies won’t be surprised by the blood.) The script features a lot of swearing, with over 25 F-bombs, scenes of teen drinking and drug use, and explicit sexual references. I didn’t find Totally Killer totally terrifying, and I’m a complete wuss when it comes to horror, so that puts the violence in some kind of perspective. At the very least this retro flick offers a fun time for fans of the genre and those looking to get into the spooky spirit without being terrified out of their wits.

Directed by Nahnatchka Khan. Starring Kiernan Shipka, Olivia Holt, Charlie Gillespie. Running time: 106 minutes. Theatrical release October 6, 2023. Updated

Watch the trailer for Totally Killer

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Totally Killer
Rating & Content Info

Why is Totally Killer rated R? Totally Killer is rated R by the MPAA for bloody violence, language, sexual material, and teen drug/alcohol use.

Violence: People are stabbed repeatedly, and their dead bodies are shown. A person’s throat is slit. Characters use guns, knives, a nail gun, and a scythe to kill or injure other characters.
Sexual Content: Teens discuss sexual acts. A teen couple make out on a bed and talk about having sex. Some sexual innuendo and references.
Profanity: The script contains over 25 sexual expletives, and more than two dozen mild and moderate expletives, plus at least 60 uses of terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Teens and adults are seen smoking. Teens are seen drinking, some to the point of passing out. Teens consume marijuana brownies.

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Totally Killer Parents' Guide

How does Pam start to change the way she treats people through the course of the story? What motivates that change? How does that affect her relationships with the people around her?

Home Video

Related home video titles:

For more teen-friendly horror movies, you can try Happy Death Day, Happy Death Day 2U, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, or Mr. Harrigan’s Phone.

For comic horror suitable for teens, we suggest M3GAN, Wendell & Wild, or Hocus Pocus 2 (not very scary at all).