Greytober Reviews: The Town That Dreaded Sundown

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Welcome to Greytober! The annual celebration of my favorite month, where I watch my favorite genre to ridiculous excess and remind myself that I’m incredibly desensitized! Last year I managed fourteen movies, despite not starting my marathon until the second week of October. This year? This year I’m going to kill that. First up...The Town That Dreaded Sundown!

So apparently this is a sequel/remake to a movie I’d never heard of, which I didn’t know until I went to look up the opening scene of the town watching...The Town That Dreaded Sundown. I can dig it, meta-horror can be good; look at Scream and Scream 4.

The BH Productions animation before the movie is great, and I wasn’t aware of how many of their movies I’d already seen, or how many were on my ‘watch this month’ list.

Opening scene is the entire town at a drive in, that for some reason has a projector sitting out in the middle of everything (I’d figure it to be in some sort of booth, or something weather proof), and everyone is watching this slasher flick. Girl says to her boyfriend that she doesn’t like these sorts of movies and wants to go, he leaves with her, yep, they’re totally going to be the first to die.

A priest putting up flyers for everyone to go to church instead of watch this movie that, I think, is a “true story” in this world? Yep, he’ll die horribly. Also, totally recognize him from How I Met Your Mother.

Kids are in the woods making out in the car, and hey look, dude dressed like the killer is in the woods watching them, and now he’s got a gun on them! I was expecting an axe for some reason. And now he’s making the guy drop his pants and get on the ground...this just got...alright. He has her turn around, and honest to god, I forgot this was a horror movie for a minute and was expecting this dude to haul off and rape her boyfriend (which would have been different). Nope, stabby stabby while she watches the shadows and then runs like hell. This obviously goes poorly, and she dies, and he implies it’s a message.

And this happens, of course, as the drive-in hits an error.

Oh, wait, nevermind, girl isn’t dead yet. She manages to get to the drive-in so the whole town sees her. Town statue gets a bag on its head and the sign “remember”, and I’m about to go play Avengers Alliance while they do exposition.

Girl isn’t dead, still, is in the hospital, and the cops want her to keep her mouth shut and not tell the press. Her grandma tells her stuff about the killer, and how she didn’t know much, but how the town is more careful, yadda-yadda-yadda, I should probably learn girl’s name, because she’s the lead.

Who is Mary?

Boyfriends funeral! Does anybody blame her for wanting unmarried sex in the woods? YEP! His mom calls her a slut!

Jami. Her name is Jami, not “girl” or “victim” or “meatshield”.

Jami goes to see a shrink that tells her to write her way through it. Oh, yeah, Jami wants to be a creative writer.

And now there’s a sex scene with two characters I haven’t seen before. Alrighty then! BOOBS! I bet this dude gets killed next. Had sex, walks outside a hotel room, yep, he’s totally asking for it. Though I guess she could get it too, since she’s still topless, which is horror movie for “murder me fast”.

Boyfriend is dead, and the killer, “The Phantom”, breaks into the hotel room by breaking the window with his decapitated head. Alright, that was fun. She makes a run for it, breaks her leg, yeah, this won’t go well. She gets in a car to get away and doesn’t even bother to lock the doors. She totally deserves it.

Important horror movie lesson: graphic sex means you die.

Jami gets a call from her dead boyfriend’s phone, and it’s the killer letting her know he’s going to keep killing.

The whole town is boarding their windows and securing their houses, and this being Texas, everyone is getting their guns. And that priest is speaking prayers at the town hall meeting, because, again, Texas. Everyone with a bible is talking about how the Phantom is coming back because they deserve it, because that’s a typical religious reaction, blame the victims.

Oh shit, Anthony Anderson is the Texas Ranger that is taking control of everything! In the words of Jim Ross, “Business has just picked up!”

Jami does her research, becomes friends with an old classmate named Nick, and I predict they hook up before the end with him not dying. Barely.

Jami gets an email from the Phantom! Anthony Anderson watches a video of the guy getting killed at the hotel! She goes to the cops, and only AA takes her seriously at first.

Wait, this other cop is Gary Cole?! BIRDMAN! I mean, Lumberg!

Nick is trying to get with Jami, expected, I feel for dude.

Big vigil at the school, Jami gets a lot of stink eyes, and hey look, Phantom shows up! And gets shot a few times!

Now everyone has a party to celebrate? With swing music?

Couple of kids get in a car and listen to dance music while they go for a drive, have some smokes, have some booze in front of a sign of the priest. Yeah, they’re next. Yeah, dudes are talking about jerking each other off, I didn’t even need to see Phantom show up to know this was going to happen.

One gets shot to death, the other...well, this is original. Phantom puts a knife on a trombone and keeps stabbing him with it as he plays...without music coming out. That part is strange.

Phantom is recreating the original kills from decades ago, I noticed this earlier, it wasn’t very well disguised, I’m still distracted by Avengers Alliance.

Jami opens up to Nick and tells him about her parents dying, he makes a move on her. REJECTED!

Apparently the priest sent Jami the email, but he didn’t kill anyone or something.

Nick goes to see Jami, this time he gets a kiss instead of a hard “Get out of my car” rejection like he did two minutes ago. This is what happens when you investigate for the girl. Also, when the timeline jumps ahead by weeks without warning.

….alright, Nick is probably the bad guy. He’s giving her jewelry and being super awesome, he’s either a walking corpse or the cause of them. I probably should have taken a look at his eye color, because the bad guy’s only real physical traits are “white” “male” and “blue eyes”.

Gary Cole is picking up a girl at a bar, and now he’s getting some mouth love back at his place. Put him on the death list for reasons other than “cop”. They show him moving his gun out of the way to get a beer, yeah, he’s totally a corpse. BAM! RIGHT IN THE EYE! RUN, BAR-WHORE, RUN!

She’s crawling through tall grass to hide, can’t stay quiet, and thr grass isn’t that tall. Hey look, a scarecrow that scares her! Yep, stabbed to death. And then hung in place of the scarecrow with the knife in her chest for the property owner to find her.

Jami and Nick go to see the son of the guy who made the original movie, yep, meta as hell. He offers to tell them the real identity of the original killer, telling them that the guy who went down as guilty didn’t actually do it. Since the town is on the Arkansas/Texas border, each side thought they found the killer.

Apparently Mary is the widow of the Phantom’s last victim, who didn’t go reported because one side of the town thought he was actually the killer. Charles Pierce, the guy giving them information, believes that it’s Mary’s grandson killing everyone. Makes a decent case for it, too. I bet Charles goes next, just to tie up that loose end.

But yeah, there’s a good case for the grandson of the last victim, since McCreedy is completely forgotten.

Jami’s grandmother finds out that Jami was accepted to college, so now they’re moving to California. I feel like this movie is almost over.

She and Nick have an oddly illuminated meet up at night, like, the lighting is just weird. They’re going to get it on, this looks like goodbye sex about to happen. The timeline of the movie has it being about two months since it started, and about a month since he stuck out epicly. Yeah, this is sex, clothes are coming off, and they’re getting to the point without being as hardcore as the victims earlier were.

This relationship exists only because we see them together, I’ve been given no reason to think they’re a couple. They’ve been buddies more than anything.

And now in her “sleeping after sex” dreams, she sees her dead boyfriend that had been completely forgotten about. This is followed by her being up and NIck leaving, but seeing a police car and going the other direction into the darkness. Lights are flickering off and on, and there’s the killer bashing him in the back of the head! I guess Nick wasn’t the bad guy.

Jami and her grandmother goes to leave, cop pulls up, she gives him the folder about McCreedy. He seems quick to let her he McCreedy’s grandson?

Sketchiest small town gas station ever. Everything is so...quiet.

GUN SHOTS! The old man filling up gas? Dead. Jami’s grandma? Bleeding out her throat. Jami? Too stupid to look for the guy who did it. Gas station attendant? Nameless corpse. Jami gets her purse and runs like hell.

Does nobody in this town carry a weapon? Texas and Arkansas border! How are there not more guns?! Jami just picked one up, and I swear, it’s the first one I’ve seen held by someone not the killer or a cop. In a horror movie, where there’s a killer on the loose.

Jami is an idiot. The killer can’t find her, so he calls her from her dead boyfriend’s phone. Why is that still active, by the way? He’s been dead two months.

Speaking of boyfriends, Nick is in pieces on the train tracks, like McCreedy was. If there’s a serial killer on the loose, fuck nobody.

Now Phantom has a fucking bow and arrow, and Jami is getting shot up with it, and this movie is getting stupid instead of suspenseful.

TWO PHANTOMS! WHAT A TWIST! One’s the cop! One is her dead boyfriend! The cop is McCreedy’s grandson. The not-dead boyfriend, Corey (this explains his phone still being on...not), just wants to be remembered and...he’s a fucking idiot. The cop blows his brains out. Then he monologues to Jami how he’s going to get away with it and pass the blame to her and Corey...but she finds a gun and shoots him a few times, including a headshot that sends his corpse off into the river.

Yeah, this is going to be a really believable story when she gets back to town.

In the epilogue, Jami moves to California and tells nobody anything that happened to her, treating it as a fresh start. Yeah, that’ll last, especially with the ominous music and obligatory shadow of the bad guy walking behind her.

Not the worst slasher movie I’ve seen recently, and props for getting Anthony Anderson and Gary Cole.

You know what would be nice to see, though? A movie with high school age characters that don’t look mid-twenties.

I had no idea when I made references to Scream and Scream 4, that I could have foreshadowed the twists of the movie just by thinking about them. I mean, yeah, the cop would still have taken the blatant hits laid down to figure out, but I should have known something was up when Jami watched her pantsless boyfriend get stabbed in shadow form on a rock wall. Seriously, WHY DID HE HAVE TO TAKE OFF HIS PANTS?!?!?!

Also, how was Corey’s phone still being paid for not suspicious to anybody? He’s dead, murdered, body discovered, and that’s why people know there’s a killer on the loose. But his phone stays active. I’m sorry, but his family would have quit paying that, even if he was faking his own death. And if he were the one paying for it, well, wouldn’t that be suspicious that someone else starts paying a dead guy’s phone bill?

This movie was really hurt, for me, by the timeframe they tried to have it take place in. They go from Halloween into the New Year, and so much gets skimmed over (Jami/Nick, for instance) that it’s hard to really find a connection to anyone. You feel like she should be in mourning or suffering from severe PTSD, but instead she’s just curious and investigative because they promptly jump forward a month.

Alright, that’s one down, thirty go go. I probably won’t review all of them, but hey, this was fun, and I’ll probably do it again tomorrow or the next day.

Final score: Four trombone stabs and half a circle jerk out of ten.

2.0 / 5.0