Thursday, February 19, 2015

New Flix: The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014)

The man that dreaded trying to explain all of this.  Today's Film is The Town That Dreaded Sundown, a Film that sounds like a Remake (of a Film by the same name), but is actually a Sequel.  Of course, it can't be that simple.  Yes, for the sake of argument, I am pretending that that last sentence made sense.  I will do my best to explain this in a way that makes the most sense.  So the 1976 Film is based on a series of real events in Texarkansas.  This Movie is based on the idea that the real events had a follow-up after the Film was released.  Yes, this is a Sequel to a Movie in which the Movie it is a Sequel to was just a movie...but also real.  Your brain hurt yet?  Let's compound things then, shall we?  The Movie was Shot in May 2013, but didn't come out until September of 2014, which makes one bit of Casting feel weird.  So what is the actual Plot?  Well, a masked killer called The Phantom terrorized a small town in Texarkansas (the area where Texas and Arkansas share a border) in 1946.  Years and years later, he's back and the place is freaking the hell out!  Is it good or bad?  While you ponder that thought, do know that this is the first Film by Orion Pictures in 15 years!  On that bombshell, let's begin...
The masked man known as The Phantom- Billy Zane?- is back in Texarkansas after years.  Why?
It all has to do with...the Film that this is a Sequel to.  Why make a Film if you can't confusingly-shove a Meta Plot into it?

Isn't it also worth asking why a Film about a real life unsolved murder in Town would be shown annually?  Do they show The Zodiac Killer every year in San Francisco?
In Slasher-Film Tradition, we have one lady being targeted by the Killer to 'make people remember.'
What does he want people to remember?  The movie?  The original killings?  The Alamo?
Let's just hope that the Law- including Gary Cole and Anthony Andersen- can solve the case!
As the killings continue, our poor Final Girl continues to be confounded...but keeps investigating.
In some random fan service, we get to see The Phantom kill a guy with a Trombone.  In that case, I have two key suspects!
It is worth noting that because the Film was shot in May of 2013, it features Ed Lauter, who sadly passed away in October of 2013.  Yes, I did pick the most awkward shot of him possible too.
I won't SPOIL who the killer or his/her motives.  I will just leave you with this creepy guy saying 'Hello.'  The End.
It is pretty good.  Do bear in mind that I have NOT seen the Original Film.  I'm sure that I will.  So just know that I'm going to judge this purely as the Movie it actually is.  Unfortunately, the framing is a bit convoluted.  Why not just make a Sequel?  Why pick the most confusing way to do things?  On the plus side, it is not a PREQUEL titled like a Remake (Cough*TheThing*Cough).  Why is it titled like a Remake?  Is it because the Title is arguably the most famous part of the original Film?  I mean, I only know it for that and its possibly-ripped-off Cover.  That said, the Film does play with some conventions/conceits in regards to that Film.  I won't say that the Film lacks style.  While I'm not into much of what he does, Ryan Murphy did Produce an interesting Film.  The whole thing has a sunbaked look- although I don't know how much of that is Color Correction and how much is real.  One silly bit is how they seem to be obsessed with clarifying which side of the Texarkansas border the Scene takes place on.  Would a Scene be ruined if I didn't know that it was in Texas, as opposed to Arkansas?  I don't think so!  Aside from silly stuff, this one is nice and atmospheric.  It still isn't anything amazing and its Meta Plot muddles the ending explanation a bit.  That said, you get to see a ton of random SWAG from the Original Film- including the German Poster.  Just for you, Maynard.
Next up, a mystery Film courtesy of a Thrift Store.  It is obscure and features Malcolm McDowell- should I be worried?  Stay tuned...

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