Sunset Edge

by Phil Hall

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday May 29, 2015

A scene from 'Sunset Edge'
A scene from 'Sunset Edge'  

Filmmaker Daniel Peddle first attracted attention ten years ago with the documentary feature "The Aggressives," about lesbians of color that pass as men. A second documentary, "Trail Angels," followed in 2011.

He is now offering his first narrative feature with "Sunset Edge," an indie drama that combines two different stories into an uncomfortable production.

Peddle sets his film in an abandoned trailer park. The first story involves four teenagers that aimlessly roam about this rural ruin, scavenging through the broken objects left behind by its long-departed residents while engaging in paintball and skateboarding horseplay. A second story that laces its way through the drama involves a boy whose father had recently passed away. He discovers hitherto-unknown information about his father that brings him to the trailer park in search of more answers.

Peddle borrows a bit from the "Blair Witch" bag of tricks with its emphasis on creepy exterior locations and a power-of-suggestion vibe that creates emotional unease without resorting to obvious special effects.

Cinematographer Karim Lopez shot the film entirely by natural light, which initially gives the film a degree of false comfort as the story turns more sinister. It also helps that the mostly youthful cast consists of North Carolina drama students that are new to film acting -- they bring a refreshing vitality that is often lacking by young actors that have been in the business a little too long.

Unfortunately, the film moves at a slow pace for too much of its running time, and only those with a significant patience for this brand of art house cinema will be able to hang on for its effective latter stretch. There is also a somewhat incongruous detour into artsy filmmaking via a recurring image of a silver-haired ghostly matron (no spoilers here to explain her presence).

Nonetheless, Peddle has created an original and imaginative work, and hopefully it will not take another stretch of years before he is ready with a new feature-length film.

Phil Hall is the author of "The Greatest Bad Movies of All Time