Kevin Tran‘s indie drama explores fear and anxiety surrounding middle-class lives. A handful of characters connect with those who seem very different at first, but in fact share similar insecurities. Set over the course of one long night, ‘The Dark End of the Street‘ focuses on several characters living in a suburban community where someone is killing the residents’ pets.

When lonely woman, Marney (Brooke BloomHomecoming), comes home and finds her cat dead on her kitchen floor, the news about a “pet slayer” starts to affect unsuspecting neighbours. While Marney’s mourning the dead of Bruce the cat, we witness the culprit who committed the violent act coming home to go on with his day as if nothing happened. The overly concerned family man from across the road is suddenly on high alert, while neighbour Jim (Scott FriendUnion Bridge) lets his pregnant wife know he’s going out for drinks with a new friend. Over this night, their worlds will intertwine, bringing some of them closer while others drift further apart.

Tran impressively turns his 2017 short film into his first full length feature, successfully writing a unique character-study that sees the paths of a multicultural group of individuals cross. Sometimes coincidentally, but most of the time building up to an underlying undying desire to explore hidden or long buried feelings. The dialogue in ‘The Dark End of the Street‘ evolves from uninformed judgement to communication that pushes very different personalities into a more deserving spotlight. Tran’s grounded screenplay is often somberly comical while helping you to step away from possible wrong first impressions.

Kevin Tran isn’t interested in showing the good and bad attributes in everyone, but rather a matter of reminding us that human’s are imperfect and don’t always reveal their most secret desires as easily as others. Bloom gives a standout performance as Marney for whom you feel equal measures of pity and disdain. Equally memorable is Anthony Chisholm (Wu-Tang: An American Saga) as the lonely old man who desperately wants to connect with Marney. The entire ensemble cast is excellent, each delivering their own nuanced performance.

The connections grow far beyond the character’s own backyards to a mutual concern for an unknown evil that preys on these people’s beloved pets. While Andre Kelman‘s alarmingly sweet score sketches a weird contrasting background to a seemingly quiet suburb, it’s Tran who builds tension with the film’s stunning cinematography and near perfect editing, in both positive, negative, satisfying and disappointing ways to conclude his story.

The Dark End of the Street‘ captivates before it transcends into something that’s hard to put down in words, making you feel less flawed as a human when everything starts to feel quite relatable. Real and plausible characters make Tran’s strong feature debut one you can’t miss.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Review – ‘The Dark End Of The Street’

Reviewed online (screener provided by publicist), August 6, 2020. Running time: 70 min.

PRODUCTION: A Gravitas Ventures release of a Transmission Pictures, Vague Pictures production. Producers: Scott Friend, Chelsea Slayter, Sebastian Slayter, Kevin Tran. Executive producers: Everett Hendler, David Laub.

CREW: Director/screenplay/editor: Kevin Tran. Cinematography: Sebastian Slayter. Music: Andre Kelman.

WITH: Scott Friend, Brooke Bloom, Lindsay Burdge, Michael Cyril Creighton, Jennifer Kim, Daniel K. Isaac, Anthony Chisholm, Jim Parrack, Ajay Naidu, Justin Grace.

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