Do you live in a small neighborhood? If you were to look outside your window to check out your street, what would you see? Perhaps there would be a jogger, someone walking their dog, or cars riding up and down the street. The houses that you see up and down the street may all seem quiet and innocent. Humans occupy these houses. As we are all too familiar with, humans hide secrets; therefore these houses are secret keepers. Unless you’re a nosy neighbor, the secrets hidden within these houses could be small, or they could be something bigger and sinister.
In Kevin Tran’s independent film, The Dark End of the Street (2020), we get a glimpse at those small secrets as well as a more sinister one. The events that occur during the one night that we are privy to throughout the film begins with the discovery of a murdered cat, Bruce. Bruce’s owner, Marney (Brooke Bloom), discovers her beloved furbaby in the midst of a panic attack due to her house being broken into.
Through a series of introductions of the characters whose lives will intersect over this one night, we learn that there has been a string of pet murders throughout the neighborhood. Sue (Jennifer Kim) and Keith (Daniel K. Isaac) and their daughter, Natalie (Kasey Lee), question the safest place to put their brand new bird and its cage. Newcomer to the neighborhood, Jim (Scott Friend), listens as his new friend Richard (Jim Parrack) explains that he believes the murders are ritualistic in nature before they gather at a little shindig at Richard’s house. Long term neighborhood resident, Isaac (Michael Cyril Creighton), learns of the murders as he’s walking his dog, and is asked to be interviewed for a news report on the murders. Marney’s neighbor, Ian (Anthony Chisholm), comes over to comfort her after the loss of Bruce, and tells stories of the dog that he once had and loved. Frank (Rod Luzzi) quietly goes about his night, but has a dark aura surrounding him. A teenager witnesses the death of his pup at the hands of the neighborhood pet killer.
The Dark End of the Street is a quaint example of a “slice of life” film. We see these characters go about their daily lives while a dark cloud of worry surrounds them and their pets. There’s no exposition or big event that carries the story along. The film is full of tiny moments between human characters relating to their lives as well as carrying the weight that the pet killer exudes over the neighborhood. Tran has written those characters with the smallest bit of depth which ends up going a long way. It’s these small moments that pull us into them with one of the best being when Jim’s wife, Patty (Lindsay Burdge), reads a poem that she just wrote to her unborn child while Jim is out partying with Richard.
“[The Dark End of The Street] begs the question, what horrors surround us as we walk unaware throughout our daily life?”
The horror of the film lingers right on the surface just like the thought of the pet killer lingers on the residents’ minds. None of them have any idea who is committing the murders. They have their own ideas (cults, sick kids, etc), but just like a real neighborhood, those ideas are gossip and attempts to make sense of what is happening. While the horror isn’t prominent within the story, it evokes a feeling of dread that is beyond the slices of life that partake during the film.
The film begs the question, what horrors surround us as we walk unaware throughout our daily life? Something terrible could be happening right next door, and we would have no idea. A person could be committing horrible acts behind the door of the house across the street, and as long as that door stays shut and those curtains stay drawn, we have no clue what’s really happening. We experience the dark side of the character who is killing the neighborhood pets along with the one character who catches him, but the rest of the characters go on about their lives unaware of this. The fear of the pet killer is there until – just like any of us in real life – they learn of the possibility of the killer being caught.
With a taught run time of 66 minutes, The Dark End of the Street captures the feel of a small neighborhood and its inhabitants. It lets you in on the struggles, secrets, and dreams of real people. It also makes you wonder what real horrors are occurring on your street. Take note of this trigger warning; there are pet deaths, but nothing is shown on screen.
Walk down The Dark of the End of the Street when it premieres on VOD on Tuesday, August 11th. Check it out, and live through some neighbors’ lives while wondering about your own. Let us know what you thought on our Twitter, Reddit, and in The Horror Movie Fiend Club on Facebook.