There’s just something about a masked killer that can be so frightening. The fear that it could be anyone, maybe even someone you know. That’s a scary thought. Of course, I’m speaking of masked killers in the movies. I don’t think there are many of them walking around in the real world, but The Town That Dreaded Sundown is actually based on a true story. This is a sequel to the 1976 film of the same name. The true story involved a hooded killer who harassed the town of Texarkana, Arkansas in 1946. The case was never solved. That makes it all the more terrifying (and equally frustrating as well). I had only heard of the original film a couple years ago when it made its Bluray debut, and it still creeps me out when I think about it. Most surprising, however, is that this sequel is actually a very worthy follow-up to the original film. It lacks the raw nature of the original film, and gives more of a conclusion than the original film offered, but I still enjoyed it quite a bit.
This version begins as we see a couple watching the original film at a drive-in (an annual tradition in Texarkana). Jami Lerner (Addison Timlin) seems a bit bothered by the movie and she asks her boyfriend Corey (Spencer Trent Clark) to leave. The two then go off to a secluded area to talk and eventually, they kiss. Jami then spots the masked killer (known as the Phantom) and he comes after them. The killer murders Corey, but Jami manages to escape. There’s a lot of controversy among some of the townsfolk who have serious issues with the film being shown. It’s finally agreed that the film shouldn’t be shown any more. There’s a lot more going on in terms of plot, but there are plenty of killings to please horror fans. I admit that there were more than a few frightening moments in this film. One big difference between this and the original is that we hear the killer speak in this version. He speaks in an early scene. The original also had a documentary style to it that made it all the more frightening. Still, this is more than a worthy follow up that only starts to fall victim to clichés in its last moments when things become a bit predictable and familiar. Still, this is a minor complaint in an otherwise very worthy horror entry. Most modern horror films fail to get the slightest rise out of me, but this one brought more than a few moments of discomfort. The original is still superior, but this version is well worth checking out. It’s interesting too because we’re constantly reminded of the original film during this. Not only do the characters watch that film during this one, but a detective actually studies that film looking for clues. Still, one doesn’t have to be familiar with the original to find enjoyment here. It does help, though. Recommended.
Video: How’s it look?
Rest assured that the image here satisfies. Colors were always warm and deep and details strong throughout. I enjoy small town films such as this, and the transfer does justice. No grain could be seen, the print appeared flawless. The image is AVC encoded with a 2.40:1 ratio.
Audio: How’s it sound?
We get a nice DTS HD track here. The vocals always sounded good, but it’s the killings that’ll put the system to work. There were quite a few jump scenes, and I found myself holding the remote a few times to turn the volume down when those happened. The rears kicked in nicely on several occasions, adding to the overall atmosphere of the film. Fans will be pleased.
Supplements: What are the extras?
What the fans (myself included) won’t be pleased with is the complete lack of extras. All we get is the film’s trailer. For some quality extras regarding the real life story, it’s worth seeking out the original film to see. Surely something could’ve been dug up for this edition, though.
It’s worth noting that this is a Best Buy exclusive release until September, 8th 2015.
The Bottom Line
While it may lack the gritty feeling and overall impact of the original film, this sequel gets a lot right, and is definitely worth checking out. It’s unfortunate that no features are included, but the film itself is recommended.