The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014)

Well folks, happy day 22 of my own little #31DaysOfHorror series! As we inch closer and closer to Halloween, I hope that you have been seeing some great flicks. Please feel free to share those with me either in the comments or on Instagram with the tag #BarleyDoesHorror!


So… what we have here is a sort-of-remake-sort-of-sequel to the 1976 slasher … The Town That Dreaded Sundown (see day 14). To kick things off, lets do what we usually do, and check out the plot shall we? :

65 years after a masked serial killer terrorized the small town of Texarkana, the so-called ‘moonlight murders’ begin again. Is it a copycat or something even more sinister? A lonely high school girl, with dark secrets of her own, may be the key to catching him.

So, directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, who directed 12 episodes of American Horror Story (and yes, 8 episodes of Glee), and written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa who penned the remake of Carrie, it was actually sort of hard to figure out how this was going to be. So, it seemed worth chancing as far as I was concerned. I mean, the director worked with Stevie Nicks, if that doesn’t count for a whole lot then I don’t know what does. It really is more of a sequel than a remake, but the title was already pretty unyielding, adding a 2 and a subtitle really didn’t make much sense. That said, while the movie is set in 2013 there are some sort of bizarrely dated wardrobe and props in the movie. Though, it really does seem to have a pretty good sense of humour about itself so I took the little anachronisms as weird references to the earlier film.


As slashers go, this one is pretty middle of the road. There are some pretty graphic deaths, though, the most graphic happens to a young same-sex couple, and that seemed to send the wrong message. I don’t really think it was intentional, but something about it felt kind of gross regardless. Though, we do see the return of the trombone murder, because how could you NOT bring that back, and many of the murders mirror the ones from the original, though in an updated and slightly bloodier fashion. The whole thing does feel like it might be in … kind of bad taste, because the original film was based on murders that really did happen, and not in the “Inspired By A True Story” way. So, creating this kind of sequel made me give it the old sideways-eye.

That said though, on it’s face, in terms of being a modern slasher, it’s not the worst. It is far from the best, or the most entertaining, but you could do worse. This of  course might be coloured by the fact that the last 3 movies I reviewed were weak-balls, and I took comfort in being even mildly entertained for 90 minutes.

The casting is pretty non-objectionable, one thing I noticed was that the killer this time around is pretty chatty, which was a new development from the original. He’s also a bit more clever, and gross, in his use and display of the bodies after they’re dead. Like using a severed head to smash a window, for example. Our heroine, played by  Addison Timlin, does a pretty fine job and there are some pretty satisfying performances from a few “Oh hey! It’s that guy!” actors. Including a pretty solid performance from Anthony Anderson as “Lonewolf”, Denis O’Hare (American Horror Story), Edward Herrmann (The Lost Boys), Gary Cole (Pineapple Express) and Joshua Leonard (The Blair Witch Project).


It’s certainly not perfect, and there are some REALLY dumb story points in the movie, but it’s really not a terrible little slasher if you’re looking for something new to watch. A few plot points are just sort of dropped for convenience, and that really didn’t bother me a whole lot. I don’t see it making anyones top-10 of the year lists or anything like that. However, if you’re looking for something to watch that won’t bore  you to tears, or be shitty. You could do worse than The Town That Dreaded Sundown.

Though, a better option would certainly be checking out the original, 1976 movie. It’s goofy, but you’ll probably have more fun with it, and it’s one that you might have missed.



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