‘The Town That Dreaded Sundown’ is a horror loosely based on a series of true life murders which occurred in Texarcana, American, in the 1940s. Events that inspired the original version of this film made in 1976. This 2014 release is described as a meta-sequal–in that the original version of the film is featured in this movie, shown annually in the town as part of a film festival (which, in shockingly bad taste, it actually is!). This is a film about a town haunted by the killings–killings which start over in the present.
After leaving a screening of the film Jami and her boyfriend are attacked in a lovers lane by a hooded killer. A murderer seemingly following in the footsteps of the killer that had stalked the town over 60 years previously. Jami survives, only to be taunted by the killer as he makes further kills, and she begins her own investigation into his identity and to understand what the killer wants the town to remember.
At its core ‘The Town That Dreaded Sundown’ is a typical slasher movie and could easily be a ‘Friday the 13th’ follow-on, albeit a superior entry in the franchise. Except of course, that’s totally unfair as the original ‘The Town That Dreaded Sundown’ came before that franchise got off the ground.
It is a film haunted by some slasher movie conceits though–a killer that lurks in the middle of nowhere in the hope of a kill, a hotel murder that doesn’t attract any investigators of the disturbance, a body left in the unknowable path of a fleeing victim. All forgivable as the deaths are not gratuitous or glamorised, but brutal, and clinical and serve to make the killer the genuine threat he should be, and not the panto boogeyman so many slasher killers become. Kudos to the makes for having a non-camp gay couple as victims–I like equality even in murder.
It’s a film elevated above it’s genre by artful direction and the approach taken to tell it’s story as it’s also wrapped up in a mystery and whodunnit approach, with a few characters that draw your suspicion and a twist I doubt you’ll see coming.
This is a film that should not have snuck in under the radar and is well worth your time. A solid three star movie, check it out.