Horror reboots and sequels are ten a penny and most of them aren’t very good. However, the remake/sequel of The Town That Dreaded Sundown hits the mark and offers something new, even if it is a beat-for-beat redo of Charles B. Pierce’s 1976 shocker (read the Movies In Focus review). Produced by Ryan Murphy and Jason Blum, The Town That Dreaded Sundown works because it follows the first film so closely, while also removing a lot (but not all) of the superfluous humour that make it so uneven. It’s bloodier and gorier of course, but that’s how things roll these days.
Opening with the Orion Pictures logo (the first film to do so in years), Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s 2014 film takes place 65 years after the original Phantom murders, while also taking into account that the 1976 film really existed. It sees copy cat killings of the original movie murders take place in present day. It’s all very meta, but it manages to work.
Gomez-Rejon has stacked this horror reboot with an impressive cast. Addison Timlin makes a viable scream queen, while she’s supported by Gary Cole, Edward Hermann and horror staple Veronica Cartwright. They all heighten the material, which is, at it’s heart a straight-up slasher flick. It’s something of a shame that this horror never got a wide release and it would have made a figurative and literal killing in the post-modern (post-Scream gory) glory days of the late 1990s.