The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014) Movie Review By Darrin Gauthier

The Town that Dreaded Sundown Review

Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Writers: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (screenplay), Earl E. Smith
Stars: Addison Timlin, Veronica Cartwright, Anthony Anderson

Plot:  65 years after a masked serial killer terrorised the small town of Texarkana, the so-called ‘moonlight murders’ begin again. Is it a copycat or something even more sinister?

Running Time: 86 Minutes

IMDB Score: 5.6

Why I Watched It: Look at that cast, that’s a very good character actor horror film all-star team.

Random Thoughts: Blumhouse made this film and oddly it’s very similar to what they just did to Halloween, they remade/made a sequel to an older horror film and used the same title yet again.  With “The Town That Dreaded Sundown” they were doing it with a cult film and not a classic but it’s the same blueprint.

The thing Sundown is it was also loosely based on a true story and this films uses the original  film in it’s plot, but it’s a sequel and it’s not a remake but they call it to the same thing, confusing.

Little trivia I watched this 2 days after I saw Seven In Heaven, Gary Cole and Travis Tope are in both films.

What I Liked: The cast so many great character actors in this sadly Ed Lauter and Edward Hermann have passed since then.  You also throw in Gary Cole and man it’s a good cast for this kind of horror film.  The best character might be the Texas Ranger played by Anthony Anderson and boy I wish he was in it more, this character should have been the lead.

Now depending on how much you like the term meta and meta in general might decide how much you like this movie cause it’s Meta with a capital M.  You have a scene where a character is watching the original film, you had the fact that they push the real life true crime elements and this film really blurs the lines.  I didn’t mind it and I thought it was clever to a point at least they acknowledged it and also played with it.

The film is shot pretty well and they have this dark and very moody atmosphere you can feel the fear in this film.  This is a violent and bloody film with a couple of good kills but this film plays more of a serial killer film than a slasher film so they’re trying to make the stakes big here.  The acting is good across the board, Travis Tope does a nice job of playing grey, you’re not sure if he’s good or the killer or just weird.

What I Didn’t Like:I saw the first film and it’s very flawed so I would have been alright with a straight remake but it looks like they didn’t want to go period piece they wanted it modern but what they ended up doing was almost remaking Scream, the films are very similar and they have not only the same beats but a couple of very close plot points.

Now the first half is decently  done they build the tension they flesh out some characters but then the film just hits a brick wall and not only becomes very slasher like and pretty much hitting all the cliches the finale is downright laughable, I mean there’s a couple of twists that make no sense and really loses the vibe and the tone of the first 2/3 of the film.  Also they waste a great cast, so many of these actors are barely in the film and the lead the one that gets all the screen time, the final girl played by Addison Timlin is your basic cookie cutter slasher survivor, she’s all cliche and the performance isn’t great, she adds nothing to the character, which is made out of plot points.  I don’t get how they didn’t use Anthony Anderson more, he’s brought in to solve the case but instead we have Timlin’s character, who by the way is a High School senior investigating the case and there is a scene where she briefs the police on what she’s found out, which they knew already.  It’s clear they wanted this to be a slasher movie and they went all in with it to the point where they ruined their own momentum.

Also don’t want to under sell how bad the ending is, I mean so many dumb things happen and the big reveal almost made me laugh, to the point where we get a voice over epilogue where a character states that they police couldn’t explain why certain people even did what they did.  Also when a horror fan sees this movie they’re going to know right away what film they ripped off.

Final Thoughts: I well done first half and the film has good performances but the film is ruined by dumb script and lazy slasher movie film making.

Rating: 3/10

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