johnlink ranks THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN (2014)

I didn’t realize that the remake of THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN had even been finished, let alone released. When it popped up on Amazon Prime I found myself mildly excited to see what they did with it. Of all the famous slasher films from the 70s and 80s, the original TOWN was a movie which was relatively unknown and could have used an update.


I watched THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN (2014) on 2.1.15. It was my first viewing of the film.

Here, in the least professional reviewer manner possible, is my own personal history with THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN:

In the late 90s: Heard Rose McGowan reference “THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN” in passing during the course of SCREAM.

In the early 2000s: Learned that said reference was actually a movie (thanks for being born IMDb!).

2012: Saw the original. Thought it was not very well done.

2014: Heard they were remaking it. Thought that made sense since the first one wasn’t very well done.

January 30, 2015: Stumbled upon the remake on Amazon Prime. Was surprised that it was already done and viewable.

February 1, 2015: Watched it.

February 3, 2015: Finally got around to writing about it.

So… anyway….

The remake of THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN is one of the least offensive remakes of all time. In fact, and this may be anathema to horror buffs, I know I’d rather watch the remake again before rewatching the original.

The remake does not reboot the series. Instead, we learn the history of the actual murders of the 1940s in Texarcana, on the border of Texas and Arkansas. Then we learn that the original movie was made in the 1970s. That movie is now shown every year, and the movie uses the original movie as canon as it tells a story about a girl who is being hunted by a masked man looking to make a point.

The film has a solid first act. The murders look interesting. Our lead girl (Addison Timlin) is a solid actress who shows she can act, and the potential killers are many. It is interesting, then, that SCREAM references the original movie because this new TOWN so heavily leans on the the SCREAM screenplay. For one, this is a meta film that is very conscious of horror movies. For another, the way the villain plays out mirrors SCREAM. For another, the ‘rules’ of horror are considered, though this TOWN movie does so more subtly. Case in point, a scene between two people discussing sex – obvious victims – is played out by two men. Doing so calls into question the those using the victims as talking points. When it isn’t just old conservatives complaining about the sexualization of youth and the use of drugs, – but rather that argument is pointed at a same-sex couple trying to figure their way through a first encounter – does that make the tropes of horror more present and relevant? It just may.

That isn’t to say that this new TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN is a subtle or morally balanced film. There are more than enough guttings, beheadings, and brutal murders to go around. But the movie is at least interesting. Sure, it devolves into standard horror fare by the middle of the second act. And sure, it’s climax recalls plenty of other films. Yet, despite all those shortcomings, this is a movie worth seeing.




FINAL SCORE: 6 out of 10

~ by johnlink00 on February 4, 2015.

7 Responses to “johnlink ranks THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN (2014)”

  1. I didn’t read this one – although I know you don’t usually spoil things – because I want to see this and I don’t know much about the original.

    • First is worth seeing for the history, though it is inferior when considering similar movies of the era like TEXAS CHAINSAW or HALLOWEEN.
      The remake is a decent little slasher in its own right, but it helps to see the original first.

  2. I was pretty disappointed by this movie. It did the job of a slasher film, but the ending was too unoriginal to satisfy me. This reboot could have been handled differently, I think. But great review of it!

  3. I honestly knew nothing about this movie being remade. I’ll have to seek it out.

  4. I just watched this and I quite liked it. Thanks for pointing out that it was available for viewing, slut.

    The end didn’t bother me either but I wish there was some explanation as to how we came to be in that situation.

    • Glad to be of service. I’m a man of the people.
      I get what you mean. I guess the reason it didn’t bother me was because it wasn’t a movie which harped on the ‘how’ of it all. The identity reveal didn’t particularly matter to what came before it. We knew there would be a connection to the town, but that connection was really just a MacGuffin because it was mostly the story of a girl living in a town with a fundamentally screwed up history.
      But I’m glad you liked it too!

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