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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? The Town That Dreaded Sundown

Where Are the Women? The Town That Dreaded Sundown

The traditional “last girl” of the horror genre moves to the center of the film, where she is in charge of her own story, a positive move for the genre.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: +25

+25
Is there a female protagonist? [why this matters]

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: +5

+1
Is there a female character with insignificant screen time in a position of authority? [why this matters]


+2
Is there a woman whose role could easily have been played by a man? [why this matters]
+2
More than one? [why this matters]

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: -5

-5
Is a woman or women used as decorative objects/set dressing? [why this matters]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: -5

-5
Is there a female character who is primarily defined by her emotional or biological relationship with a child or children? [why this matters]


-3
Is a dead mother mentioned? [why this matters]
+3
Is a dead father also mentioned? [why this matters]

WILDCARD SCORE: 0

Is there anything either positive or negative in the film’s representation of women not already accounted for here? (points will vary)

No.

TOTAL SCORE: +20

IS THE FILM’S DIRECTOR FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)

IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)

BOTTOM LINE: Yes, the female protagonist (played by Addison Timlin) is basically the traditional “last girl” of the horror genre moved to the center of the film. But that means that she is in charge of her own story, and her story isn’t just about trying to survive but about actively trying to solve the mystery of who wants her dead. So this is a positive move for the genre.


Click here for the ongoing ranking of 2015’s films for female representation.

NOTE: This is not a “review” of The Town That Dreaded Sundown! It is simply an examination of how well or how poorly it represents women. (A movie that represents women well can still be a terrible film; a movie that represents women poorly can still be a great film.) Read my review of The Town That Dreaded Sundown.

See the full rating criteria. (Criteria that do not apply to this film have been deleted in this rating for maximum readability.)


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where are the women

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