Thursday, October 29, 2015

Phil's Halloween Horror Watch: THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN (2014) from Image Entertainment-October 29, 2015

Starring: Addison Timlin, Veronica Cartwright, Travis Tope, Gary Cole, Edward Herrmann, Anthony Anderson
Screenwriters: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Earl E. Smith
Cinematographer: Michael Goi
Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Production Companies: Blumhouse Productions & Ryan Murphy Productions
Distributor: Image Entertainment

Most horror movie remakes are terrible. Just terrible. Absolutely terrible. So terrible to the point I want to gouge out my eyes with an ice cream scooper. But every now and then a remake comes out that captures my interest. For me, it must capture the spirit of the original while simultaneously be able stand on its own. So it was a pleasant surprise to see the remake of THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN which is one of the better remakes that I have seen a very long time.

The film's official synopsis: 65 years after a masked serial killer terrorized the small town of Texarkana, the so-called 'moonlight murders' begin again. Is it a copycat or something even more sinister? A lonely high school girl named Jami (Addison Timlin), with dark secrets of her own, may be the key to catching him.

What I found interesting about the film is that while it's been called a reboot, it's more of a sequel. The filmmakers acknowledge the original 1976 film (which was released on Blu-Ray last year by the fine folks at Scream Factory) and also acknowledge that it was based on true events. As a result, the film feels more grounded in the real world while simultaneously reminding us that this is a sequel. Very smart move on their behalf and an element that I was happy with.

Lead actress Addison Timlin is just absolutely incredible as our final girl Jami Lerner, who is seriously having a rough time. Her boyfriend was killed by the infamous masked killer, who seems to be the same one from the first film. While being stalked by him (or her), she goes on a quest to solve the mystery of this mysterious killer. Timlin brings a lot of emotion and integrity to her role and portrays Jami as a strong, smart and brave young heroine. This is something we horror fans don't get to see a lot lately. In Hollywood productions the supposed "final girl" are flat, two-dimensional carachtures of what's they used to be and we are not fully invested in them. Congratulations to Timlin for making a character that we actually care and cheer for!

Theatrical Movie Poster (2015)
The film was the feature length directorial debut by newcomer Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, who does a great of creating atmosphere, dread and, of course, gallons and gallons of bloodshed. Most first time directors fail to make their first film entertaining and move at a reasonable pace. Alfonso bypasses this freshman mistake by making a fast paced, entertaining film filled with tension, horror and gore. There is so much gore in this film and I loved it! Definitely keep an eye out for this talented filmmaker as I hope to see more great things to come!

As with all classic horror films, a good script can help elevate a film and make it r commended viewing. What screenwriter Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa did which was smart was that he wrote the film to tie-in to the original Charles B. Pierce 1976 slasher classic. He even went to so far to include the film, Mr. Pierce himself, and cast Denis O'Hara as Charle Pierce Jr. to help make it more believable. Roberto's script again is smart, clever and really takes it to the next level.

Before I forget, I must mention actor Edward Herrmann, who portrays the Reverand Cartwright in the film. Herrmann has been in the business for over forty years, appearing films like THE PAPER CHASE, THE GREAT GASBY, ANNIE, THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO, NIXON, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET and genre classics like THE LOST BOYS and DEATH VALLEY. However he's mostly known as Richard Gilmore from the old WB show Gilmore Girls, which ran from 2000-2007. Recently Netflix announced that they are planning on reviving the show and will be reuniting most of the original cast but unfortunately Mr. Herrmann won't be there. On December 31, 2014, Edward Herrmann passed away at the young age of 71. This was the last film he appeared in.

Blumhouse Productions was one of the production companies that helped make this film a reality. If you're not familiar with them, you should be. They're the ones that helped put the PARANORMAL ACTIVITIES, THE PURGE and SINISTER franchises on the map. So keep that in mind when you see their cool and creepy looking intro before all their films.

Overall THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN is a worthy entry to the slasher genre as well as a sequel to a slasher classic. There's enough scares, blood, action and kills to satisfy event the most hardcore horror fanatic. So make sure you see this film cause you're gonna have a bloody good time watching it! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN is available on both DVD and BLU-Ray. Visit your local retailer to pick up a copy today. The movie is also available on VOD. Also follow the film on Facebook and Blumhouse Productions on Twitter. To learn more about Blumhouse Productions visit their website at

Thanks for reading and enjoy the show!

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