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Welcome Scribbler Horror Fans! Feind dove into the vast archive of slasher films plucking one fresh off the surface. Today we pay a visit to…
The set up for this new slasher fest is that 68 years ago a hooded killer plagued the town of Texarkana on the border of Texas and Arkansas then disappeared without a trace. It isn’t overly odd for a horror movie to use a real place though it generally isn’t done so as to not set up a false myth in a real place but in this case the movie springs from real murders that took place in 1946. I also didn't realize this is a remake of a 1977 film but they seem completely different. The trouble begins when a make shift drive-in plays a movie about the killer. You can guess it doesn’t take long for the blood to start flowing.
Enter the classic slasher cliché or what I consider Rule #1 in a slasher flick. Young people having sex, especially in a car on “lover’s lane”, are gonna die. Every now and again the maker of a slasher flick will try to throw you off by showing young people gettin’ their freak on and not kill them and director Gomez-Rejon goes half way in TTTDS (that’s too damn long to keep spelling out). The young woman turned heroine for the film Jami (Addison Timlin) is making out with her man, Corey (Spencer Treat Clark who you may remember as the young boy Lucius in Gladiator), when our hooded baddie rap a tap taps on the window turning what should have been awkward sex in a car to full panic. Poor Corey is so frazzled it takes him several tries just to open the car door to get out as the hooded baddie so kindly requested. Jami is told to turn around only watching the man she was just about to “give it up” to repeatedly stabbed nicely silhouetted in shadow on the hill she’s facing. No need to worry about the dead so Jami does the wise thing and runs away. Though you may find yourself asking a couple of questions 1) how does she get away so easily and 2) this is a slasher so why did we only see the horny bf slaughtered through shadow rather than with oodles of blood and gore? I can’t answer these things for you without spoiling the movie, you’ll have to find out for yourself but there is a reason.
Her brush with the killer and her own mortality sets curious little Jami on a path to find answers. Who was the killer 68 years ago and is the new killer related or just a copycat? The killer himself claims to be the original killer but only a fool would believe this since the killer would have to be at best in his 80s and probably more. Jami goes on a quest for answers, of course, with the obligatory warnings from the local sheriff and other law enforcement to keep her big fat nose out of it. Echoes of Scream’s Courtney Cox anyone or maybe just Scooby Doo's Daphne?
So while Jami searches for clues (Scooby Doo, where are you?) the hooded killer keeps on killing. However for me this is where the film really started to kind of lose me. The kills aren’t all that interesting and Jami’s search for the killer is just kind of boring as is the town of Texarkana, at least in the movie no offense to any Texarkanans. The body count rises with some splashes of blood but nothing a hardened horror vet hasn’t seen a thousand times and often better. However there is one kill that stuck with me that I did rather enjoy. I won’t spoil it but if you watch this one out of love of slasher flicks all I can say is when the lazy, mostly worthless (this is a horror movie), sheriff (Gary Cole who you should recognize or Yeah, I'm gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Saturday.) is getting some “relief” from the daily stresses of the job don’t get up to go to the bathroom or get a drink or you will miss the best part of the film.
There is a “surprise” ending but what killed the film for me is that I saw the “surprise” coming in the first quarter of the film. The kills for the most part weren’t that interesting though there are quite a few even for this genre. The main character Jami who our killer seems to be stalking and tormenting is a little whiney and dull so that I really wasn’t rooting for her in the end as you’re supposed to though admittedly I’m not really the typical viewer since I’m generally rooting for the killer. I know I’m not the only one who does but even the killer in this one isn’t really all that interesting even after the “surprise”. Perhaps you’ll think differently, who knows.
In the end The Town That Dreaded Sundown failed the only test that really matters. It failed The Scribbler Clock Test as I found myself checking to see how much time was left in this one at least 10-15 times. It isn’t the worst movie I’ve seen, by far, but for me it was just a little on the boring side. If I was grading this on a 1-10 scale I’d be looking at about a 4.5 so while it doesn’t happen often I have to, though it does have the redeeming quality of tons of kills, dub this one…
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Scribbler Movie Reviews
Feind loves watching movies of all kinds so if we watch it, we tell whether you should as well. I'll share mostly horror but I also enjoy everything from big Blockbusters to micro-budget Independent films.
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