As I continue to delve deeper into the world of micro-budget indie films, I find myself straddling a fence of contradictions.
I don’t want to be terribly harsh given the financial restraints, but I also don’t want to be too lenient.
Fortunately I’ve only come across few downright misfires and luckily Edge of Dawn is further proof micro-budget indies can be GOOD.
Taking something of a reverse spin on the home invasion scenario, a pair of college kids Nick (Raleigh Carter) and Stephanie (Hailley Cooper) are lured into the home of Travis (writer/director Jesse Stanley), who begins a diabolical game involving anatomy, freezers with mysterious boxes, and intense chases.
Even with all the cat and mouse games, what immediately set the film apart was the natural chemistry between the lead characters.
Nick and Stephanie make for a believable imperfect couple and Travis is an effectively creepy antagonistic presence.
Edge of Dawn still sits fresh in my mind. I have the utmost respect for the small team of filmmakers responsible for making this film a reality. It’s also a refreshing change of pace to see two young protagonists in a thriller make such rational and thought out decisions.
Hailey Cooper’s character was the film’s stand out. She is a total badass and never once falls helplessly into the damsel in distress troupe that’s seen far too often in indie horror.
However, the film isn’t perfect.
For starters, it’s probably a good twenty minutes too long, which is common for first time filmmakers.
When it comes to making a thriller like this you need to keep things tight and to the point. Extended chase sequences at Travis’s house were fun and intense at the beginning but tended to grow stale at the 90 minute mark.
It also didn’t need certain expositional moments in the opening scenes and one character, a nameless masked man played by Travis Siddens, could have been cut completely.
I imagine with another round or two in the editing room this could be an even better thriller.
Thankfully, these are mostly forgivable mistakes and keep in mind this is a debut feature from a group of passionate people who, for the most part, have never really worked on a film before.
While not perfect, Edge of Dawn showcases obvious technical prowess and entertainment from a first time writer/director/actor/producer, Jesse Stanley.
★★★ Subverting home invasion cliches at almost every turn and coupled by a promising first time director, Edge of Dawn is essential indie viewing.
Edge of Dawn is available for rental or purchase through their website, theedgeofdawn.com !