Movie Review: The Town that Dreaded Sundown (2014)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the horror/slasher movie starring Addison Timlin and Anthony Anderson.

Synopsis: A masked gunman begins killing people in Texarkana, mimicking a serial killer that once terrorized the area 65 years earlier. After a high school girl sees her boyfriend become the killer's first victim, she begins researching the original murders and the 1976 movie loosely based on the serial killer in the hopes of figuring out who the copycat is.

The film stars Addison Timlin, Veronica Cartwright, Anthony Anderson, Gary Cole and Ed Lauter.

Review

I had seen this particular movie on Netflix several times but had never considered watching it until reading an article a few days ago that recommended it. And, since my kids were in bed at a reasonable hour and my wife and I had time, we ended up picking this movie to watch last night as a result of that. As it turns out, my opinion of it was mixed.

When we first started watching this film, I thought it was going to either be a sequel to the 1976 film or a remake. It ended up being the former, but only to a limited extent. Instead, the film acknowledged the 1976 movie (which had the same title) as a fictionalized account of real events and possibly the inspiration of the newest set of murders.

As far as this plot goes, there were actually some things about it I did like. Primarily, I loved the mystery surrounding the newest hooded killer. Since the original murders were more than 6 decades earlier, it was obvious the man in the hood was a copycat. However, the film does a great job keeping his identity secret, mostly because his motives aren't very clear. Is he related to the killer? Is he getting revenge for one of the victims? Or, is he just obsessed with the movie? The last one seemed to make the most sense because the killer was copying it almost exactly. Yet, there was evidence that wasn't necessarily the case and that kept the movie from becoming boring.

Unfortunately, while I thought the plot and mystery were decent, I did feel the overall execution of the film lacked something.

In particular, there were plenty of times when this movie just seemed to be a bit too predictable, especially when the killer chose his victims. In other words, it wasn't too hard to figure out when and where he was going to strike next. This probably wouldn't have been too big of a deal. But, this is the kind of movie that relies heavily on surprise and suspense for it to be scary and those elements were missing.

My wife and I also thought the film went a bit overboard with the gratuitous sex scenes. Yes, these are expected in movies like this, especially when the film has an "R" rating. But, there were moments when I was starting to wonder whether this was a thriller or an attempt at soft-core porn. Unlike plenty of other films in this genre, this movie really didn't need to go that route to be entertaining to watch.

Final Opinion

As I said before, I did like the premise and the movie did have some good things going for it, especially when it came to the mystery surrounding who the serial killer was. However, the overall execution was a little weak and, because of that, the film doesn't quite live up to its potential.

My Grade: C

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Updated: 05/27/2015, StevenHelmer
 
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