- This page is about the remake. For the original film, see The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976).
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. The film was released on October 16, 2014 by Orion Pictures to positive reviews.
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 and around Texarkana in 1946. Corey Holland (Spencer Treat Clark) and Jami Lerner (Addison Timlin) are watching the film. Realizing that Jami is not enjoying it, they decide to leave. Parked in a secluded area, they begin to talk and kiss, but Jami sees the Phantom in the woods. They decide to leave but the Phantom breaks the window and makes them get out of the car while pointing a gun at them. He orders Holland to remove his pants and lie on the ground. He tells Jami to turn around and to not look back. The Phantom begins to slash Corey to death. Jami runs off but is caught when she falls. He tells her, "This is for Mary. Make them remember." Jami walks back to the drive-in and collapses. The next morning, police interview her at the hospital. Later that night, Jami and her grandmother, Lillian (Veronica Cartwright), watch the news about the attack. Jami asks her grandmother what she remembers from the original attacks. She researches the crimes. The next day, she visits Corey's funeral.
Two days before Thanksgiving, Kendra Collins/Thompson (Morganna Bridgers) goes to the airport to meet her boyfriend, Daniel Torrens, returning from the military. They have sex at a motel and he leaves to get snacks from the vending machine. Kendra hears something and looks out the window. The Phantom smashes the window with her boyfriend's severed head. She jumps out of the bathroom window, breaking her leg as she lands. She limps to the car but is killed while trying to start it. Jami receives a phone call from Corey's phone. The Phantom tells her, "I'm going to do it again and again until you make them remember." She decides to tell her police escort, Deputy Foster (Joshua Leonard), about the incident. The next day, residents secure their houses and go to a town meeting.
Jami goes to the City Hall archives to continue her research. She is helped by ex-classmate Nick Strain (Travis Tope) and they become friends. At the police station, Texas Ranger Lone Wolf Morales (Anthony Anderson) takes over the investigation. While continuing her research at home, Jami receives an e-mail from "Texas Phantom". She takes this to the police and reveals her theories but they are disproven. Nick is waiting for Jami when she returns home and he asks her out to the vigil being held for the Phantom victims. While there, the Phantom shows up and is shot down by a Marine officer. The news is told to the town mayor at a social event and they celebrate. Afterwards, band members Johnny (Jaren Mitchell) and Roy (Kurt Krause) leave the dance and are warned by Deputy Tillman (Gary Cole) to go straight home. They decide, instead, to park at a lonely junkyard. While there, they see the Phantom. Johnny runs from the car. Roy drives off but is hit in the head and crashes. Johnny is beaten and Roy gets tied up. The Phantom recreates the trombone weapon from the original film. Johnny is then shot to death before Roy is stabbed to death. The next day, Foster tells Lerner that the man that was shot down at the vigil was a suicidal teen and that there were two more murders.
Morales and Tillman visit Reverend Cartwright (Edward Herrmann) at his church. They discovered that he sent Lerner the e-mail, but they do not believe he is the Phantom. Nick meets up with Jami and tells her that he found out that Charles B. Pierce's son is still alive and lives in Texarkana. Tillman goes to a bar on Christmas Eve and meets up with a woman. At home, while she is giving him a blowjob, he is shot through the eye. She runs into a farm field and is killed by the Phantom.
Jami and Nick visit Charles Pierce Jr. (Denis O'Hare) where they learn about Hank McCreedy, a sixth victim of the original Phantom whose story was forgotten. He gives his opinion that the new Phantom is Hank McCreedy's grandson, because the family is angered that McCreedy's death was not remembered. Jami is told that Hank McCreedy's wife was named Mary. That night, Lillian finds out that Jami was accepted to college in California and decides to move to California so Jami can go to school. Jami tells Nick she is leaving in the morning and they have sex. Nick walks home and is attacked by the Phantom. While leaving town, Jami pulls into a gas station and walks inside. She soon hears gunshots and finds her grandmother dying by the vehicle. The Phantom is seen shooting from a window in a nearby building. Jami runs down the street and into the old Union train station. The Phantom follows her inside and calls her phone to find her. She runs to the train tracks where she 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 revealed to be Deputy Foster and the other is Corey, who is revealed to have faked his death. Foster reveals that he is McCreedy's grandson. Corey is shot by Foster. While Foster is attacking Jami, she finds the gun and shoots Foster at point blank range. It is stated that the body of Foster is never found. Jami moves on with her life and goes to college. In the end, it is seen that the Phantom's shadow is stalking Jami down the corridor before the credits roll.
- Addison Timlin as Jami Lerner
- Travis Tope as Nick Strain
- Veronica Cartwright as Lillian, Jami's grandmother
- Gary Cole as Chief Deputy Tillman
- Joshua Leonard as Deputy Foster
- Edward Herrmann as Reverend Cartwright
- Anthony Anderson as Lone Wolf Morales
- Ed Lauter as Sheriff Underwood
- Denis O'Hare as Charles Pierce Jr.
- Spencer Treat Clark as Corey Holland
- Morganna Bridgers as Kendra Collins
- Wes Chatam as Danny
- Jaren Mitchell as Johnny
- Kurt Krause as Roy
- Lanee Landry as Ardele
- Colby Boothman as Paul Mason
- Danielle Harris as Townsperson #2
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, and then later at Beyond Fest in Los Angeles, California on October 4, 2014. Its international debut was at the BFI London Film Festival on October 14, 2014. Both Deadline.com and Bloody Disgusting had 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. 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.
Home media Edit
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.