Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Movie Review: "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" (2014)

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Movie"The Town That Dreaded Sundown"
Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Year: 2014
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 26 minutes

65 years after The Phantom serial killer terrorized the town of Texarkana, a new phantom has emerged to pick up where the previous killer left off.

The original "The Town that Dreaded Sundown" came out in 1976 and was a true crime style film based of a string of murders that actually happened in Texarakana in 1946. The original version had an almost documentary style feel to it, making it a bit tedious to watch at times. This 2014 semi-sequel exists in a world where its characters have knowledge of the 1946 true life murders and 1976's subsequent film about the murders, making it an extremely self-aware slasher flick. The movie takes place on Halloween night at a drive-in that is screening the original "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" movie as part of the town's yearly tradition. Jami, played by Addison Timlin, gets uncomfortable watching the film, so she asks her boyfriend Corey, played by Spencer Treat Clark, if they can leave. Instead of going straight home, they drive off to what use to be called "lovers lane," the town's make-out spot. It is there where they are attacked by a hooded man that looks like the notorious killer from the 1976 film. This copycat brutally stabs Corey and starts to chase and hunt for Jami through the forest, only when he catches her, he does not kill her. Instead of brutally murdering her, he just gives her a cryptic message about 'making the town remember.' The police and the Texas rangers start looking for this copycat killer while Jami tries to unravel the mystery of what message she is supposed to tell people at the same time.

Unlike the original movie, this version is entirely fictional and is shot in a much more traditional style. It is really just your basic slasher flick, but it is still a pretty effective one. There are some really gruesome killing scenes, one in particular involves a woman receiving a compound fracture in her leg while attempting to jump out of a window while fleeing from the killer. It looks amazingly realistic and garnered an audible reaction from the both of us and promoted one out of two of us to hide their head under the blankets (I don't want to point fingers or name any names, but let's just say their name rhymes with "SchmoLo"). Broken bones, man, broken bones. The film has a lot going for it early on with these gross slayings and some pretty tense moments. This tension builds as fears rise with each passing scene, and as the killer gets closer to each of its victims, this tension leads to a lot of great and gory special effects work. Unfortunately, the movie loses quite a bit of steam in the last 1/3 of the movie. Even though the death scenes maintain a great level of interest and continue to deliver throughout the film, the story itself, especially and primarily the ending, leave a lot lot lot to be desired. In fact, we really disliked the ending, which actually made us give it a lower rating than we might have if it had been different. For what it's worth, we can say we were thoroughly entertained by everything leading up to that point, so we can overlook this minor infraction a little bit. Still, we can't help but wonder what could have been if the ending had been executed better.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 6.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 69%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
Two years ago, we were watching: "A Bay of Blood"

One year ago, we were watching: "Demons"

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