The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014)
What’s This About: A small California hamlet is attempting to break the world record for “Most Tanned Town in the USA” but they can’t make any progress at night and they have precious few hours before the deadline!
Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:
- A serious of horrific murders took place in Texarkana in 1946 by “The Phantom Killer,” who was never caught. The Texarkana PD really could’ve used a creative marketing team back then. I think I said that last time.
- All I know from this onscreen recap is that the boys are thirsty in Atlanta, and there’s beer in Texarkana, and we’ll bring it back no matter what it takes.
- Wait, in this movie the original movie is acknowledged as a movie? They probably hated it too.
- Every year on Halloween the original is screened somewhere in Texarkana. Why Halloween? Why not on the anniversary of the murders? But then again, why would this town, which dreads sundown by the way, want to rewatch this shitty movie about their dead relatives?
- Joanna’s husband from Overboard is handing out god pamphlets at a drive-in screening of the original, saying that it’s wrong because real people died. You know, he’s kind of right. Also, the movie is obviously being played at night, but the town dreads sundown, so I’m very confused.
- Two teens split the movie and drive out to the middle of nowhere. I’m sure all that will ensue is a nice conversation about math homework or something.
- Ok, so the teens see a guy in the woods who is dressed like the Phantom, and all they do is lock the doors. Maybe drive the fuck away, you nimrods?
- And now it’s too late.
- So New Phantom Sundown makes the boy take off his pants and get on the ground, then tells the girl to turn around, then stabs the boy in the back with a knife. Why didn’t he just shoot him?
- Anyway, for some reason he pins the girl town and says, “This is for Mary” and lets her live. I hope he means Mary Steenburgen.
- I’m pretty bored already.
- The girl (Jami) goes to the boy’s (insignificant) funeral and his mom screams at her that she left him. No real person would do anything like this.
- For some reason they made a point to have a title card onscreen that this scene is at an airport on November 26, 2013, but everyone is dressed like it’s 1973. Was that a fuck-up or did time just freeze in this town when the original movie came out?
- Intense motel sex scene that’s similar to My Bloody Valentine in that this girl is naked for a weirdly extended period of time after and she gets chased by the killer right after.
- Anyway, Phantom Sundown stabs her in the car and more blood comes out of her than Dracula has collectively sucked over the course of his centuries-long life.
- So Phantom calls Jami from the dead boy’s phone and tells her to make people remember. What the shit is he talking about? I think everyone is aware by now. And if he wants people to remember something more specific, why not call a radio station? Or a newspaper? Or a TV station? Or the pizza dude?
- By the way, the town of Texarkana is spilt between two states. You guessed it: Oregon and Illinois. What a dumb idea for a town.
- This movie literally has one character in it. And she’s not worth giving one squirt of golden Texarkana Coors about.
- I had a dead raccoon in my yard recently and I looked more forward to scooping it up and disposing of it than I do watching the rest of this. You might say I’m dreading it.
- Jami is like a dead ringer for a young Margot Kidder but like 12% prettier.
- Sorry to all of you, I am completely checked out here. I haven’t been this disinterested in something since… well, the original.
- Oh, Phantom just inexplicably showed up to a victim vigil and got shot. So it’s over????!!! Or was that just some random weirdo, like when I show up to funerals?
- I’m going to guess that this is like a group killer thing, like Scream, or Willard.
- Oh god not the dumb fucking trombone blade scene…………… I’m finished here.
- They keep making a point to show Phantom’s bright blue eyes, and the cop who is assigned to watch Jami has the same kind of eyes, but surely that has to be a red herring and the movie wouldn’t be that incredibly lazy… oh what am I saying…
- Jami tells a tale of being at a sleepover and some kid scares the girls with a bag over his head like the Phantom and she was so scared she asked her parents to pick her up and they died in a horrible car crash on the way home. But she was a-ok, somehow.
- Oh there’s a new boy named Nick for some reason who I couldn’t possibly care less about.
- Seriously? Dutch angle establishing shot? Did a dead raccoon direct this?
- I should’ve just Watched Smokey & the Bandit and made up random notes about a lame 2000s horror movie instead. You wouldn’t have noticed, mostly because no one is reading this.
- Gary Cole just got shot in the eye while getting a blowjob. Now did I just make that up? No one will ever know.
- So Jami and that dude go to the director of the original movie’s son’s house. The son says his dad could have been “the next Orson Welles.” Well if he’s not the crazed killer he’s crazy enough to say something that ludicrous. Maybe he just meant that he was a fat drunk.
- There’s like a thing about original Phantom’s last victim’s son and/or grandson being the killer and I’m pretty sure it’s that blue-eyed cop and I’m positive I don’t give a hoot and I sure as hell don’t pollute.
- I want this movie to end more than I want COVID to end.
- Oh hey it’s that cop.
- Oh and also his son, the original boy who was killed. I’d explain it, but it’s too dumb, and I also don’t have an explanation. Mostly because I haven’t been paying attention.
- And he shot his son. I don’t know why. And I don’t know why he doesn’t just kill her. Or why he kept her alive this whole time anyway.
- Oh, if they’re working together WHYYYYYYYYYY did he make the boy take his pants down in the scene at the beginning???
- Oh, the boy wasn’t the cop’s son? Is the script for this movie just used toilet paper with concerning blood streaks in it?
Final Thoughts: At least the original semi held my attention by being so poorly directed and having mystifying comedy moments. This movie is emptier than Brad’s soul but with none of his positive traits, of which I’m sure there are some. Like maybe this concept of the original being a movie that’s a catalyst for modern murders would maybe work if that original movie wasn’t s steaming pile of shit, but that’s not the case here. Actually, I’m sure that’s been done, but I don’t remember, nor do I care to.
Score: 1.5 Arks of Texas (out of 10)
Which was Better?: I can’t believe this is possible, but the original.