The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014 film)

The Town That Dreaded Sundown is a 2014 American slasher film, a meta-sequel to the 1976 film of the same name.[3] Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon in his feature-length directorial debut, the film was written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa[4] and produced by Jason Blum and Ryan Murphy.

The Town That Dreaded Sundown
The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014 film) poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAlfonso Gomez-Rejon
Produced by
Written byRoberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Based onThe Town That Dreaded Sundown
by Charles B. Pierce
Music byLudwig Göransson
CinematographyMichael Goi
Edited byJoe Leonard
Distributed byOrion Pictures
Release date
  • October 16, 2014 (2014-10-16)
Running time
86 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Box office$120,459[2]

The film stars Addison Timlin, Travis Tope, Spencer Treat Clark, Veronica Cartwright and Gary Cole and was one of the last films of Ed Lauter and Edward Herrmann before their deaths in October 2013 and December 2014, respectively.[5] The film was released on October 16, 2014 by Orion Pictures to positive reviews. As of February 2019, the film has grossed over $100k through video sales.


On October 31, 2013, in the small town of Texarkana, the local drive-in theater is hosting the Halloween annual showing of the 1976 film The Town That Dreaded Sundown, based on the true story of the Phantom Killer who murdered several people in Texarkana in 1946. Corey Holland and Jami Lerner leave the film to talk and kiss in a secluded area. The Phantom suddenly attacks them, kills Corey, and tells Jami, "This is for Mary. Make them remember." Later, two days before Thanksgiving, Kendra Collins-Thompson and her boyfriend, Daniel Torrens, are killed by the Phantom while having sex at a motel. The Phantom then calls Jami with Corey's phone, telling her, "I'm going to do it again and again until you make them remember." She decides to tell her police escort, Deputy Foster, about the incident. The next day, residents secure their houses and go to a town meeting.

Jami is helped with her research into the killings by her former classmate Nick Strain. At the police station, Texas Ranger Lone Wolf Morales takes over the investigation. Jami receives an email from the Phantom, takes it to the police, and reveals her theories about the crimes but they are disproven. Nick asks Jami out to a vigil for the Phantom victims. There, a suicidal teenager shows up dressed as the Phantom is killed, causing the townspeople to believe the murderer is actually dead. However, band members Johnny and Roy go to a lonely junkyard, where they are attacked by the real Phantom. Johnny is beaten and Roy gets tied up, whereupon the Phantom recreates the trombone weapon from the original film. Johnny is shot to death before Roy is stabbed.

Morales and Deputy Tillman visit Reverend Cartwright at his church. They discovered that he sent Jami the email, but they do not believe he is the Phantom. Meanwhile, Jami learns that Charles B. Pierce's son is still alive and lives in Texarkana. On Christmas Eve, Tillman and a woman he brought home from a bar are killed by the Phantom. Jami and Nick visit Charles Pierce Jr. and learn about Hank McCreedy, a sixth victim of the original Phantom whose story was forgotten. Pierce gives his opinion that the new Phantom is McCreedy's grandson, because the family was angered that McCreedy's death was not remembered. Jami is told that McCreedy had a wife named Mary.

Lillian, Jami's grandmother, finds out that Jami was accepted into a college in California and decides to move there so Jami can go to school. Jami tells Nick she is leaving in the morning and they have sex. After leaving, Nick is killed by the Phantom. While leaving town, Jami pulls into a gas station. There, the Phantom starts firing from a window in a nearby building, killing Lillian and several other people. Jami runs into the old Union train station and finds Nick's body. She is shot down by arrows while trying to escape. While immobile, she is confronted by two Phantom Killers. One is Deputy Foster and the other is Corey, who faked his death. Foster reveals that he is McCreedy's grandson. Corey tries to convince Jami they are the same--- that Texarkana trapped them in roles in society that they hated--- but she adamantly rejects his claim. Corey goes on to brag about how everyone will know what he did, and decides to kill her for this, but is then shot and killed by Foster who plans to kill Jami as well and blame the killings on her and Corey. While Foster is attacking Jami, she finds the gun and shoots Foster to death, but it is stated that his body was never found. Jami leaves Texarkana and moves on with her life, later going to college. In the end, the Phantom's shadow is seen stalking Jami.



When Jason Blum was asked in an interview why he wanted to remake the original film, he responded:

Ryan Murphy found the movie, brought it to me and said, "I wanna do it". I didn't find it. He brought it to me. I think he is an amazing, creative force, especially with horror. I think he thinks about horror in a really unique way. So, he pitched it to me and I really wanted to work with him. I didn't know the [original] movie. That's what got me interested in it. I have had a really good working relationship with him. And the whole point of why my business exists and why I'm such a fanatic about making movies inexpensively is that you get to do different stuff. We just wanted to try it. That's the fun thing. When you don't have a $20 million horror film, which is a typical horror movie studio budget, or a $180 million tent-pole budget, looming down at you, you can try new stuff. It may work or it may not work, but the fun is that we can try. It's a really weird movie to remake, and I really like doing weird things.[7]


"The museum is where their base of operations is, and then we're supplying the cars that are coming into the scenes where they shoot the movie. They want '60s- and '70s- era cars. As I understand the movie, it's going to be kind of like a flashback kind of thing."[8]
— Jeral Willard, Four States Auto Museum

Though the film is about Texarkana, most of the film was shot in Shreveport, Louisiana in mid-May 2013 for a six-week shoot.[8] Some of its locals were recruited as extras. Three of those days were filmed in Texarkana. Downtown State Line Avenue was decorated with out-of-season Christmas decorations on June 12.[9] Filming in Texarkana began Monday, June 17 and ended in the early morning of June 20. The crew then finished filming in Shreveport.


The Town That Dreaded Sundown had its first screening at the 10th Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas on September 18–25, 2014, which director Gomez-Rejon attended,[10] and then later at Beyond Fest in Los Angeles, California on October 4, 2014.[11] Its international debut was at the BFI London Film Festival on October 14, 2014.[12] Both Deadline Hollywood and Bloody Disgusting indicated that the film would be released by Orion Pictures, a long-dormant subsidiary of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, in select theaters on October 16, 2014.[13][14][15] The film was then released digitally on Video on Demand through Blumhouse Productions' new BH Tilt, a new label which releases films via multi-platform.[16] The town that dreaded sundown 3 was announced on October 28 being release in May 2020 with Dawn wells returning to the series. with Kathy White portraying a Victim that is a greedy person

Home mediaEdit

Image Entertainment acquired the U.S. home video distribution rights and released the film on DVD and Blu-ray exclusively at Best Buy on July 7, 2015.[17]

Critical receptionEdit

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a 68% approval rating based on 28 reviews with an average rating of 5.98/10.[18]

The film has been met with mixed to generally positive reviews. Variety found the film lacking and said "this tediously metatextual exercise conjures few inspired jolts of its own."[19] Chris Tilly of IGN said the film was "ultimately, not very good."[20] Bloody Disgusting praised the film's visuals but said "It’s unfortunate that the script can’t reach the same bar – particularly when it comes to the tired twist ending, which seems to exist simply because the filmmakers assumed audiences would expect it."[21] Empire Online gave the film three stars and called it "Smart, fun, mid-list horror with Scream overtones."[22] Fangoria gave the film three out of four skulls and said "the plot somewhat falls apart in the third act...But despite this disappointing final blow, TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN is still well worth a visit."[23] Jonathan Romney of The Guardian gave the film three stars and called it "a southern-fried Scream" and said it "proves that a brazen lack of originality doesn’t preclude inventiveness and brio."[24] However, Benjamin Lee also writing for The Guardian gave it two stars and called it "cookie cutter carnage."[25]


  1. ^ "THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN (15)". British Board of Film Classification. March 13, 2015. Retrieved March 13, 2015.
  2. ^ "The Town Thatg Dreaded Sundown (2014)". The Numbers. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  3. ^ Ryan Turek (April 3, 2013). "Meta Version of The Town That Dreaded Sundown Finds Its Leading Lady". Shock Till You Drop. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  4. ^ "Addison Timlin Joins Ryan Murphy's The Town That Dreaded Sunlight Remake". April 3, 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  5. ^ Mike Barnes (October 16, 2013). "Prolific Character Actor Ed Lauter Dies at 74". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 30, 2014.
  6. ^ Sims, Robert (October 16, 2014). "Interview: Colby Boothman-Shepard, "The Town That Dreaded Showdown"". Lights Camera Austin. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  7. ^ "Jason Blum Talks THE PURGE and The Town That Dreaded Sundown Remake". Collider. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  8. ^ a b Brand, Aaron (June 18, 2013). "'Sundown' shoot starts". Texarkana Gazette. 137: 1.
  9. ^ "Christmas in June". Texarkana Gazette: 3A. June 13, 2013.
  10. ^ Borders, Meredith. "This Is It! The Final Wave Of Programming For FFX". Retrieved September 10, 2014.
  11. ^ "The Town That Dreaded Sundown at Beyond Fest". Retrieved September 10, 2014.
  12. ^ "'Sundown' Premieres in London". Retrieved September 10, 2014.
  13. ^ "Blumhouse launches Multi-platform arm BH Tilt". Retrieved September 10, 2014.
  14. ^ "The Town That Dreaded Sundown and other releases". Retrieved September 10, 2014.
  15. ^ "First Look at The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014)". Retrieved September 10, 2014.
  16. ^ "'Mockingbird,' 'Mercy' and 'The Town That Dreaded Sundown' This October". Retrieved September 10, 2014.
  17. ^ "'The Town That Dreaded Sundown' on Blu-ray & DVD July 7 from Image Entertainment". Horror Society. June 16, 2015.
  18. ^ "The Town That Dreaded Sundown Reception". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  19. ^ Lodge, Guy (October 16, 2017). "Film Review: 'The Town That Dreaded Sundown'". Variety. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  20. ^ Tilly, Chris (October 1, 2014). "The Town That Dreaded Sundown Review". IGN. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  21. ^ Burkart, Gregory S. (October 9, 2014). "[Review] 'Town That Dreaded Sundown' Is a Mixed Bag". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  22. ^ Newman, Kim (March 25, 2015). "The Town That Dreaded Sundown Review". Empire Online. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  23. ^ McKendry, Rebekah (October 15, 2014). ""THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN" (Movie Review)". Fangoria. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  24. ^ Romney, Jonathan (April 19, 2015). "The Town That Dreaded Sundown review – a southern-fried Scream". The Guardian. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  25. ^ Lee, Benjamin (April 16, 2015). "The Town That Dreaded Sundown review – tricksy horror sequel". The Guardian. Retrieved October 16, 2017.

External linksEdit