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The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014) Review (Toronto After Dark) (1 Viewer)

Yavin

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Ben Mk
The 2014 iteration of The Town That Dreaded Sundown is a bit of a strange beast -- neither a straight-up remake or a full-fledged sequel, this movie is sort of a meta-homage to the original.

Set in the same town of Texarkana, the real-life town where the "Phantom Killer" slay five citizens in cold blood in 1946, it tells of a resurgence to the killings, inspired by the 1976 film version of the tale.

From my review at Toronto After Dark:
The story unfolds in 2013 Texarkana — a unique little town straddling the Texas-Arkansas border — 67 years after a series of grisly slayings, committed by the so-called "Phantom Killer", gripped its citizens with fear and changed the town forever. The culprit was never caught, and the real-life crimes became the inspiration for the 1976 film of the same name, which the townsfolk screen annually on Halloween. This year, however, someone intends to commemorate the occasion like never before, by staging a whole new series of gruesome killings; and it's up to a local teen (Addison Timlin) — who herself narrowly escaped death at the hands of this copycat murderer — to unmask him and bring an end to this new wave of terror.

Aspiring for the film to be something more than your run-of-the-mill genre entry, director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon takes a page out of Wes Craven's Scream playbook, bringing a sense of self-awareness to the project that helps to distinguish it from the usual fare. Still, the movie is at its best when it embraces the tropes. Its murder scenes stun with their swift ferocity and sheer brutality. The stylish, often slightly-askew, cinematography infuses every scene with foreboding dread. And pulse-pounding sound design will keep filmgoers on the edge of their seats. A skilled cast of familiar faces — including Veronica Cartwright, Cary Cole and Dennis O'Hare — is just the icing on the bloody cake. No sir, nothin' to dread here.
3.5 out of 5.
 

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