The Crescent TIFF 2017

TIFF 2017: The Crescent Review

Midnight Madness

Although The Crescent is being promoted as a horror film, Nova Scotia-based director Seth A. Smith has crafted something that feels like a different sort of experience. Experience is the key word for this film. The movie features horror and thriller elements as well as family drama, but there is no one prevailing genre throughout. Instead of getting bogged down in genre tropes, there is a clear focus on creating distinct atmospheres throughout the film. Some feel peaceful and almost psychedelic while others certainly feel tense and ominous. However, as the whole, The Crescent is an experience in a world you probably won’t mind getting lost in.

The majority of the film takes place on a waterfront property where a mother, Beth (Danika Vandersteen), and her son (Woodrow Graves) try to get away from it all. The house and its exterior always make for beautiful shots but there is an underlying eeriness to it all, particularly whenever someone approaches Beth and her son. The scenes featuring Beth creating art can play as either soothing or eerie depending on the intention of the scene and the score, which was created by Smith and his producer/wife, Nancy Urich. This is important because the situational nature of the imagery on screen is how plot points are revealed or reinforced. There isn’t a lot of exposition between characters which definitely helps to draw the audience in and force them to pay attention to details during their experience.

By the time the movie reveals the story’s true nature, you’ll immediately want to rewatch the film. You’ll want to see if you were able to catch how all the imagery and motifs led to the concluding moments. That is no small feat. The Crescent is a rare film that actually makes you want to give it another viewing right away, and that is something that should be applauded.