The Crescent Summary and Review


Beth: Danika Vandersteen
Lowen: Woodrow Graves
Pete: Andrew Gillis
Sam: Britt Loder
Joseph: Terrance Murray
Director: Seth A. Smith
Writers: Seth A. Smith and Darcy Spidle
Release: 2017

Grieving the loss of her husband, Beth (Danika Vandersteen) seeks solace in her mother's secluded beach front house, somewhere on the rugged Nova Scotia coast, hoping to recover and share precious moments with her son, Lowen (Woodrow Graves). The days here pass slowly as mother and son find comfort in a routine of housework, beachside play, and Beth's work as a paint marbling artist. 

Their peaceful retreat takes a mysterious turn when an enigmatic neighbour Terrance Murray) takes an unsettling interest in Lowen and a young girl, Sam (Britt Loder), appears as another neighbour and ominously warns Beth about certain locals who "don't know they're dead". Strange events unfold and inexplicable noises shatter the quietude, growing evermore eerie and unnerving. Beth begins to experience trances and haunting visions as she tries to pick her way through the growing sense of menace and avoid becoming consumed by her grief.

“The Crescent'' is not a true frightener in the usual sense but there are moments of genuine goosebumpery as the uncertainty builds and fear of what lies beyond the house grows. However, this is somewhat eclipsed by the dreamy, almost gallo-esque scenes as Beth succumbs to her fate. Moreover, an unexpected twist of body horror appears, strangely out of place in the storyline and steers the narrative down "What the Hell" Avenue. The film flirts with different horror elements giving the impression that “The Crescent” is unsure of its purpose, weaving a curious tapestry of contrasting, but not quite complementary, threads.

A common criticism of this film is the slowness of pace and there were long periods when nothing of consequence happened but the endearing interactions between Beth and Lowen do compensate for this somewhat. You would be forgiven for thinking that Beth and Lowen were known to each other beforehand but this is not the case, although Lowen is the director's son. He is an absolute scene-stealer delivering a delightful blend of constant chatter and curious innocence that is both amusing and heart-rending. I guess if the director is your dad, you may be be more open to taking instruction but nonetheless, the child’s on-screen presence was captivating and Seth A. Smith's direction excelled.

“The Crescent” is visually appealing and the cinematography captures the wild, isolated beauty of the Nova Scotia coast reminding us of the simultaneous awe and fear we hold for the sea. And, as the narrative unfolds, it's beautifully intercut with Beth’s vintage film-clip memories and her marbling artistry that mirrors the growing darkness of the tale.

If you hadn’t already guessed the outcome (there were clues all along if you were paying attention), the long awaited conclusion brings the story to a natural close. Or so you think. But a further, unecessary elaboration is added, merely extending an already drawn-out narrative.

“The Crescent" is a dreamy, unhurried tale of grief and mystery which might not captivate everyone but is, in spite of my reservations, a competently made film that warrents attention. It's a visual treat, if you appreciate aesthetics within your horror, and the enchanting interactions between Beth and Lowen truly shine.

However, the lack of pace and perceivable identity prevent it from becoming a chilling experience that lingers in the memory. Despite its artistic merits, it falls short of being the spine-tingling thriller it aspires to be.



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