Coming to UK cinemas this April, this quasi-follow up of sorts to the old 1976 film of the same name, which was based on a series of real-life killings in Texarkana during the 1940s, updates the setting to the present day. The hooded killer, dubbed “The Phantom”, returns to the town to pick up where he left off all those years ago.
The first victims are a young courting couple, who are brutally attacked on a remote country lane by a masked assailant, whose motives and appearance match that of the original Phantom Killer.
Some of the older locals believe the original killer has returned, though the police think it more likely the work of a copycat, who’s basing his crimes on the old movie, rather than the original case. But as more and more people fall victim and the levels of violence start to escalate, the Police, Sheriffs office and Texas Rangers find they’ve got their work cut out for them, trying to unmask who this killer is before he strikes again.
Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (American Horror Story), it would be unfair to dismiss this as an unnecessary remake, even though it shares many common themes. Even having an inept police officer nick-named Spark Plug, and a scene where the killer murders someone with a knife tied to a trombone. But at its core, the film is essentially a retelling of the original murders, but tweaked for a modern day setting with a copycat killer. Excerpts from the original movie are also shown on TV during the film.
Whilst not overly gory, there’s a few scenes that certainly left me reeling. The film also has a good supporting cast, which includes Veronica Cartwright (Alien, Invasion of the body Snatchers) US TV actor Gary Cole (we all remember “Midnight Caller” don’t we?) and Ed Lauter, in what was sadly to be one of his final roles before his death in 2013.
Definitely one for slasher movie fans. Friday the 13th trivia buffs may wish to note that Jason’s appearance in the second film, with the cloth-sack mask, was based on this killer (before he got the hockey mask in pt3).
The film is released to UK cinemas April 17th.