Glasgow Film Festival 2015: The Town That Dreaded Sundown

Film Review by Chris Fyvie | 20 Feb 2015
  • The Town That Dreaded Sundown
Film title: The Town That Dreaded Sundown
Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Starring: Addison Timlin, Travis Tope, Veronica Cartwright, Gary Cole, Anthony Anderson, Edward Hermann, Denis O'Hare, Joshua Leonard

A winking remake-cum-sequel of a 1976 slasher, itself based on a real case from 30 years previously, sounds like an exercise in meta-reflexive backslappery too far in an already saturated market. But, thanks to smart work from debut director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and screenwriter Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, this is definitely more interesting than irritating.

That the original movie exists in the diegesis helps Sundown 2.0 to stray into Scream territory, tackling perceptions of horror cinema while also satirising the remake fodder that immediately followed Craven’s picture, and the current trend of genre pictures looking to the past for aesthetic cues. The production design is also cheeky; there may be some modern cars and the occasional cell-phone, but the clothes, other tech and feel are pure 70s, as a masked killer toys with student Jami (Timlin) and re-enacts the historical Texarkana murders. Gomez-Rejon, meanwhile, throws a bag of tricks at the screen: jump-cuts, Dutch angles, dual-focus, dream sequences and at least one belting tracking shot invoke De Palma and other B-movie masters in a film that's way more stylish and thoughtful than one might expect.


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