It’s being promoted as “a Hitchcockian mash-up,” but Daniel Peddle’s debut narrative feature, Sunset Edge, more resembles a horror film grafted onto last year’s Southern-poverty documentary Rich Hill.
Four of today’s bored youth — Will (William Dickerson), Jacob (Jacob Kristian Ingle), Blaine (Blaine Edward Pugh), and Haley (Haley Ann McKnight, the standout in the cast) — travel to a deserted trailer park in North Carolina late one afternoon to hang out, make soft-drink suicides (yep, kids apparently still do that, and they now add candy), record themselves, and generally wallow in the rural decay.
Meanwhile — or seemingly before, or after, or in another timeline entirely — a young man named Malachi (Gilberto Padilla) is discovering clues about the neighborhood’s past, and some unpleasant truths about his late father. The way the two story lines come together, involving paintball guns and morphsuits, is more mundane and less spooky than the tone up to that point suggests, but the point of Sunset Edge isn’t really the surface narrative.
As befits its title, much of the aggressively lyrical and contemplative Sunset Edge is shot at the magic hour, and as such it’s ultimately less a Hitchcockian and more a Malickian mash-up, which is a genre that should totally exist.