The original “The Town that Dreaded Sundown” came out in 1976. It took a slightly different approach to than the other slasher flicks that were on the rise at the time. Loosely (and I do mean very loosely) based on a true story, the original is set in Texarkana during 1946. The film itself is part slasher flick, part mockumentry. Trying to combine both documentary style of film telling with more traditional horror story telling. It was a first for the time, and there’s not another horror movie that I can think of that’s quiet like it. It’s why the movie remains in many people’s memory despite being pretty lackluster.
The newer movie seems to attempt to want to do the same, and stand out as being unique in the horror genre, and the horror remake genre. It builds on the original and shows a Texarkana that is obsessed with the original movie and killings. Every year people get together to watch the movie, the story of The Phantom’s story haunts them and moves through the town constantly. This is much like the town’s focus in Scream 4. Where it diverts from that is the main character, Jami who survives an attack by a new Phantom and starts to help the cops investigate the case.
I liked the idea of having a film that is obsessed with the “original” being real in Scream 4, and give them credit for recreating this idea in The Town, without completely ripping it off. The problem is that while this new movie is completely obsessed with the original flick, it then decides to go kind of off script. The new killer is someone that is completely unrelated to actual original movie and instead they just wrote in a victim that the town conveniently forgot about. It’s a poor twist to say the least. It basically feels like the people making the new movie either didn’t know enough about the original or simply weren’t able to tie into the original so they just made stuff up. It feels sloppy and it’s pretty underwhelming.
There is another twist that lasts all of 2 minuets and is just as lackluster as the whole plot. Basically this one is a great follow up to the original. Like the original it attempts to do something different to set itself apart of the other movies in the same vein. But also like the original so much time seemed to be spent on how to make it different that the actual final product is underwhelming to say the least. It has a few mildly entertaining moments but overall it’s slightly below average. It’s too bad it did have at least some potential.