In Review: The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014)

by Daniel Goodwin on 07/04/2015


What with modern slasher films becoming increasingly more meta and self-referential, film-makers have reached the point where adopting this post ironic stance, by reminding audiences of the clichés that defined the sub-genre, is also becoming a cliché. Technically, The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014) is not a remake but an incongruous hybrid sequel that uses the original 1976 film as a reference point. But aside from this intriguing deportment, TTTDS (2014) is a irksome, tired and ineffective reimagining lacking appealing characters, an original storyline and an engrossing plot.

The film takes place in a universe where the original The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976) exists and in the town, Texarkana, where the actual events that inspired the film took place. Copy-cat killings committed by a psycho in a similar mask begin occurring while shifty locals swiftly become suspects or victims via contrived set pieces. Meanwhile, the protagonist Jami (Addison Timlin), the typical, virginal scream-queen type, talks to locals and the original film-makers in attempt to solve the mystery and uncover the killer’s identity.

The problem with TTTDS (2014) is that it is preoccupied with defining itself as a concept, yet fails to be very scary or unique in terms of plotting. The sardonic kerfuffle unravels within a trite and hackneyed masked killer tale, the likes of which we have seen far too many times. First time director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon delivers sharp and energised action and suspense sequences but while the plot is punchy on occasion (and enough to be mildly entertaining)  it is mostly cumbersome due to a lack of substance and innovation.

TTTDS (2014) tries to be different contextually but lacks originality in the areas where it is most needed. Uninteresting stereotypes are unimaginatively disposed of while the script adheres to the yardstick traits but lashings of claret will keep the gore hounds happy. As it stands this is a slapdash stalk and slash, the likes of which has been produced to greater effect recently with You’re Next (2011) and It Follows (2014) but TTTDS (2014) has nowhere near enough originality or momentum to advance a subgenre that has been mostly mordant for decades.

Daniel has awarded The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014) two Torches of Truth


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