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film review

At a remote beach house, a single mother struggles to keep her infant son safe from the influence of an otherworldly presence in The Crescent.Courtesy of GAT

  • The Crescent
  • Directed by Seth A. Smith
  • Written by Darcy Spidle
  • Starring Danika Vandersteen and Woodrow Graves
  • Classification 14A; 99 minutes

Rating:

3.5 out of 4 stars

Horror films are a natural home for themes of mourning and loss – what better way to explore finality then by facing the existential dread head-on? The bond between genre and subject has a long history – from Dracula to the Babadook, before pop culture turned the latter into a meme – but the meshing is given a hypnotising new spin in Seth A. Smith’s The Crescent.

Taking full advantage of Nova Scotia’s haunting grey shores, the film is set at a remote beach house where widow Beth (first-time performer Danika Vandersteen) and her two-year-old son Lowen (Woodrow Graves, the real-life son of Smith and partner/producer Nancy Urich) retreat to deal with the death of their husband and father, respectively.

A creeping atmosphere sets in almost immediately, gripping the screen tight until the final image, which can either be read as subtly hopeful or despairingly eerie. Smith’s hallucinatory aesthetic – God bless whoever invented the art form of paint marbling, used to magnificent effect here – and Vandersteen’s and Graves’s natural bond form a unique marriage of the surreal and the grounded.