17th Aug2015

‘The Town that Dreaded Sundown’ DVD Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Addison Timlin, Veronica Cartwright, Anthony Anderson, Travis Tope, Joshua Leonard, Andy Abele, Gary Cole, Edward Herrmann, Ed Lauter, Arabella Field, Denis O’Hare | Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Earl E. Smith | Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon


What do you get if you remake a movie, but in truth make it more of a sequel to the original? The answer is The Town that Dreaded Sundown, a film that ends up being a likeable oddity, even if a little generic in terms of being a horror…

65 years after a masked serial killer terrorised the small town of Texarcana, the killing returns to strike again. Jami (Addison Timlin) a victim who manages to escape his initial attack becomes obsessed with discovering who the killer is. Is it a copycat killer? Or has the ghost returned to remind the people of the town of his past deeds?

The Town that Dreaded Sundown is a strange film because it can’t seem to decide when it is set. Although there is technology on show from the date the film says it takes place (2013) there is a seventies feel to the set design and costumes of the characters. This is not the only thing that feels odd about the film, as the cinematography is distractingly impressive.

When I say distractingly impressive, I choose these words because it helps diminish the fact that The Town that Dreaded Sundown is a very generic style of slasher movie. It doesn’t really innovate in the deaths we see on-screen, and it doesn’t provide a story that promises anything new. What director Alfonso Gomes-Rejon does though is provide a film that is very visually in your face with imagery and fast paced editing that work together with shots that stand out as something just a little different to catch the audience’s interest. At times it pulls you away from the film itself and you can’t help but like it for that fact. It feels like something different, because it distracts from the weaknesses that do threaten the audience’s enjoyment of the film at times.

When the finale finally comes and the killer is revealed, I found that really I didn’t care that much about it. It came as no real surprise, the film provides a tale we’ve seen countless times before. This is something that just can’t be ignored in the end, leaving the audience with a confused feeling of wondering what they just saw? Can a film’s style be impressive while the plot feels so flat? I guess it can, because that is what you are presented with in The Town that Dreaded Sundown. Whether that is a positive thing, I’m not quite sure.

Another impressive aspect of the film is the cast, horror fans or even just fans of cult movies will notice a few faces straight away. Almost from the start Edward Herrmann makes an appearance, Gary Cole, Veronica Cartwright, Ed Lauter, and Denis O’Hare also appear, and whether it’s been in movies or on television they are instantly recognisable from the genre. Along with Addison Timlin as Jami the main character, it all adds up to an impressive cast.

Is the remake of The Town that Dreaded Sundown a good movie? I find it hard to say, the generic plot holds it back a lot but the visual style of the cinematography and the tone created by the confused time frames makes for an interesting experience. I ended up not feeling like I’d wasted my time in watching the movie, but at the same time also wondering what I’d just watched. Strangely entertaining as a film oddity it may just be worth your time to give this one a watch.

***½  3.5/5

The Town that Dreaded Sundown is out now on DVD from Metrodome.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek.

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