The October Diaries: The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014)

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Illustration by Max Brown
Blurbs Sean & Christof

October 1st, 2015:
The Town That Dreaded Sundown

Year: 2014
Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Format: Amazon
From Wikipedia: The Town That Dreaded Sundown is a 2014 American slasher horror film, a meta-sequel to the 1976 film of the same name.

Christof’s Take:

What I Liked:

Shots! Cool clean crisp confidence shots that just beg for alliterative adjectives. A lot of canted angles, perhaps more than I’d prefer, but some restraint was shown. Maybe the cinematographer was repeatedly told, “Can’t Dutch this!” But he thought the director meant, “Cant/Dutch this!” Either way, hang on: I have to go record a quick MC Hammer spoof-demo.

OK, back. Yeah, lots of memorable images cut together well. Healthy pulse to it. Some truly inspired mise-en-scene. Not a lot of fat clogging up the arteries.

It also has a microfiche micro-montage that is formally strange enough that it probably doesn’t belong, but is also maybe my favorite moment in the whole movie.

Ssssss-spoiler Paragraph: The convention of doomed horny teens in cars getting killed is a staple to this film and the legacy of the original. It’s refreshing to see such a scene with homosexual or (at least bi-curious) men. It’s difficult to articulate this thought so it doesn’t sound like, “Glad that masked fella gave them queers got what-for!” Rather, I think the portrayal of the barely-characters, whilst alive, was respectful and on point.

What I Didn’t Like:

The sloppy exposition of motives farted out at the end.

Final Thoughts:

Last year on this day, we watched The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976), a strange and not-so-great movie that is based on actual murders. The 2014 movie of the same name is not based on actual murders, which is a score for humanity. Wikipedia classifies it as a “meta-sequel” — which I think is an appropriate label to slap on it. Scream took many cues from the 1976 film, and the 2014 version seemed to take many cues from Scream and Scream 2, so it all feels neat and tidy that way.

Fish Allergy Warning: This film contains a lot of red herrings



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Sean’s Take:

What I liked:

The Orion logo appearing before the movie. I didn’t know they still existed and, having grown up on Orion tapes, this was a great nostalgia pang to get my mind right — and an appropriate logo to launch October 2015.

I was impressed with the way the movie attempted to deal with the repercussions of violence and the way movies/media propagate that. The film does muddy the moral waters by criticizing the effects of promoting violence via cinema while indulging in it gluttonously via cinema.

Anthony Anderson, Gary Cole and Ed Lauter were welcome faces to fill out the cast. Anderson in particular was great, playing his own take on the “Lone Wolf” Texas Ranger character who was a highlight of the original.

Great locations, sharp editing and a satisfying color palette.

What I didn’t like:

I successfully predicted a twist way too early and a few too many characters made the kind of silly choices (like screaming as you try to hide from the killer) that fuel the criticisms of those who look down their noses at the horror genre.

Anthony Anderson wasn’t given enough to do with a role he clearly had a great handle on.

Final thoughts:

I prefer this one to the original. I respect the 1976’s version for keeping things ambiguous (as this one over-explained it’s mechanics by the end) but I guess I was in the mood for the gloss and playfulness the remake-sequel had to offer.

I squirmed through both, but there was a more coherent tone to this new  one while the original vacillated between blunt depictions of raw violence and some over-the-top-silliness on par with the humor on display in an entry in the Smokey and the Bandit canon.

 

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