Totally Killer (2023)

by | Oct 8, 2023 | 2020s, Black comedy, Comedy, Featured Films, Film Reviews, Horror | 0 comments

A Rollercoaster Ride Through Time and Terror


“Do you want to hear a story? I have to warn you; it is a disturbing one.”


5 min read


Release date: 6 October 2023
Genre: Horror/Comedy
Cinematographer: Judd Overton
Budget: TBA
Box office: TBA



In the world of film, experimentation often yields intriguing results, and director Nahnatchka Khan’s “Totally Killer” is a prime example of this. This film dares to blend the unlikely bedfellows of comedy horror, time-travel, and slasher elements, resulting in a cinematic rollercoaster that takes viewers on a journey from Halloween night in 2023 all the way back to the neon-soaked 80s. Starring Kiernan Shipka, whose performance shines amidst zippy dialogues and dramatic tonal shifts, “Totally Killer” offers a unique twist on the classic slasher formula. However, this ambitious endeavor also stumbles in various areas, struggling to distinguish itself from its inspirational sources and leaving some horror enthusiasts yearning for more suspense and menace. In this comprehensive review, we’ll delve into the film’s strengths and weaknesses across five distinct sections to form a well-rounded assessment before delivering the final verdict.


Totally Killer (2023)


The Ambitious Blend of Genres

“Totally Killer” deserves credit for daring to break genre boundaries. The film’s central premise of combining comedy horror with time-travel and slasher elements is undeniably intriguing. It capitalizes on the rich potential of melding humor, fear, and temporal twists. Kiernan Shipka’s commendable performance as the lead character is a standout, effortlessly navigating the film’s zany dialogue and abrupt shifts in tone. Her presence adds a much-needed anchor to the narrative, making the film engaging and entertaining.


A Familiar Homage

While “Totally Killer” ambitiously merges genres, it occasionally struggles to differentiate itself from the classics it pays homage to. Films like “Back to the Future”, “The Final Girls” and “Happy Death Day” have already explored the terrain of time-travel and horror comedy, and at times, “Totally Killer” feels like it’s retracing well-trodden paths. Director Nahnatchka Khan’s approach lacks the innovation needed to make this film truly stand out. The film’s reliance on familiar tropes may leave some viewers yearning for a more unique and inventive storytelling approach.


Totally Killer (2023)


Lackluster Direction and Visual Style

One of the notable setbacks in “Totally Killer” is its rather bland direction. The film’s scenes are often lit like a daytime soap opera, which is a considerable drawback for a horror comedy. The failure to create a sufficiently eerie or atmospheric ambiance undercuts the film’s horror elements. More dynamic cinematography and lighting choices could have added a layer of tension and immersion that the film sorely lacks. The period recreation of the 80s, while conceptually promising, also falls short in terms of visual appeal, making it difficult for viewers to fully embrace the time-travel aspect.

Self-Awareness and Humor

“Totally Killer” often leans into self-awareness, a hallmark of many films in the comedy horror genre. However, in this case, the self-awareness occasionally comes off as smug, robbing the film of some of its charm. While there are moments of genuine humor and witty dialogue, “Totally Killer” could have benefited from a more consistent stream of original and laugh-out-loud jokes. The film’s humor serves as a mixed bag, with some moments hitting the mark while others fall flat.


Totally Killer (2023)


The Horror Element

In a horror comedy, the horror element is paramount, and here, “Totally Killer” arguably falters the most. The film’s attempts to generate suspense and menace often fall flat, failing to evoke genuine fear or tension. Horror enthusiasts seeking a more genuinely terrifying experience may be disappointed. The film’s scares and gore are relatively tame, which could be seen as a missed opportunity to create a more visceral and memorable horror experience.

Totally Killer (2023)



“Totally Killer” is a mixed bag of genre experimentation and nostalgic homage. Kiernan Shipka’s standout performance and the film’s ambitious blending of comedy horror, time-travel, and slasher elements provide moments of entertainment and engagement. However, the film struggles to distinguish itself from its inspirational sources, with a direction that lacks visual flair and a somewhat uneven sense of humor. The horror element of the film also falls short, leaving viewers wanting more suspense and genuine scares.

Considering its strengths and weaknesses, “Totally Killer” earns a rating of 5 out of 10 stars. While it may not be a game-changer in the comedy horror genre, it can serve as a lighthearted and enjoyable choice for casual Halloween season viewing. Ultimately, “Totally Killer” is a film that offers brief pleasures but fails to leave a lasting impression, making it a middle-of-the-road option for those seeking a blend of horror and humor in their cinematic experience.


My Rating: 5/10


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