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The Town that Dreaded Sundown

Based on true events in 1949 involving a series of unsolved murders, ‘The Town That Dreaded Sundown’ is a ‘meta-sequel’. This means the original film, released in 1976, exists in the world in which this current one resides. It’s an interesting concept rarely used and a great way to refresh a stale formula. Equal to its forebear, this takes welcome risks few do while spinning its own deadly web of intrigue.

While watching ‘The Town that Dreaded Sundown’ at the local drive-in, lovebirds Corey (Spencer Treat Clark) and Jami (Addison Timlin) are attacked by the film’s killer. Wondering how this is possible, the killer’s blade strikes fear into the small town of Texarcana. Reliving the fictional and factual horror, Jami and her friends stop at nothing to uncover the truth and finish the killer’s reign of terror forever.

You wouldn’t think such a strange concept would work but it does. Rather than taking the lazy route by being a straight remake, it goes along another path entirely. With the original actors and director involved in the new series of slayings, the story is consistently watchable. Like a ghoulishly enjoyable whodunnit, the characters not only have to guess who the real killer is from 1949 but also who is doing the fresh round of killings.

That’s not to say ‘The Town That Dreaded Sundown’ is a masterpiece but at least it does something away from the norm. Whilst it has the expected requisite kills, the way the mystery is interwoven with the real-life and cinematic version of events keeps the viewer on their toes. The direction and performances are suitably energetic and are admirably assisted by striking cinematography and score.

For those liking this type of movie, ‘The Town That Dreaded Sundown’ is worth watching. It ignores most of the standard tropes the genre uses and improves on the ones it uses. More films like these would do much to lift the standard of story-telling in the thriller category and allow them to linger in the memory.

Rating out of 10: 7

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