65 years after the “The Moonlight Murders,” massacre, the small town of Texarkana is gripped in fear when a copy cat, or possibly the same killer is out once again.
Partly based on a the real Phantom Killer Massacre, The Town that Dreaded Sundown released in 1976 was arguably one of the first teen slasher movies out there. It was met with some controversy and received lukewarm reviews, the real spine-tingler and the catch of the movie was that it really did actually happen and no one was prosecuted.
So fast forward 40 years later and in this part reboot, mostly sequel of a movie, the town of Texarkana has moved on to the point that the original film is shown every Halloween, which is quite true by the way. The movie starts at a drive-in, teenagers are either making out or watching the film when Jami (Addison Timlin) decides she wants to be alone. She and her boyfriend Corey head to a secluded area moments before they are attacked by The Phantom while only she is left alive with a message. From then on it’s your usual teen slasher shtick, the sheriff and his deputies, this time in the form of Anthony Anderson as Lone Wolf Morales are doing everything within their power to no avail, people, mainly young ones, have sex and get killed, Jami goes on a hunt to find out The Phantom’s real identity, the town might be having its own secrets, you get the point. And you know what? Thank god for it, if I had to sit through another “ghost turning the tap on through a shaky home camera lens,” accommodated with those loud bangs that signify nothing, well nothing would have happened I would just stop watching horror films…anyway where were we?
The script, written by Roberto Aguirre- Sacassa who also wrote the remake of Carrie is self aware as is he. We’re living in 2015, all the punches has been pulled and he knows since, so the script is neat and tight throwing in some appreciative nods to the previous film and a few others too. Hell remember, the kids are actually watching the first film in the beginning of this one.
Directed by Alfonzo Gomez-Rejon, the film pulls no punches when it comes to the horror. In paying his respects to the slashers and video nasties of the seventies, crash zooms, red filters, trombones (sorry) and as well as his own set of skills comes into play here. The opening scene itself sent a slight tingle down my spine while others hit their marks here and there.
A tense little chiller which will help pave the way for its talent of both filmmakers and actors. Timlin is a great lead, guiding us through with some much cherished help from Veronica Cartwright and Gary Cole. Gomez-Rejon and Aguirre-Sacassa have done a fine job with bringing this small little known story to the big screen. Some of the shocks and jolts might miss, but the rest of the film makes up for it.
DVD Special Features:
Interviews with cast and crew. Two sound settings, scene selection
Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Starring: Addison Timlin, Travis Hope, Gary Cole, Joshua Leonard, Anthony Anderson, Veronica Cartwright
Running Time: 83 minutes
Release Date: 17th August 2015