Brooklyn Horror Film Festival Review: THE CRESCENT (2017)

Welcome witches and warlocks,

Today I will be reviewing the horror feature THE CRESCENT by director Seth A. Smith.  To best describe the story, I will turn to the IMDB plot summary:

“After an unexpected death in the family, a mother and son struggle to find spiritual healing at a beachfront summer home.”

First of all, the opening credits are absolutely beautiful.  I know this seems an odd thing to comment upon, but the credits run much like those in old movies where we sit and watch as nearly every name goes by before we delve into the film itself.  Though it is not immediately apparent how, they also end up connecting into the narrative itself which creates a cohesive whole.

In fact, the dreamy look of this movie extends beyond the credits into the entirety of the piece. From the illustrated man to the hermit crab, many of the designs they use are absolutely eye catching.  While early on the visuals feel fairly run of the mill, as things start getting interesting the production design kicks into high gear to match the elevating story.

Fair warning, things move rather slowly at the outset of this picture, but as they start to pick up it becomes absolutely fascinating.  My attention was held merely by the fact that I was uncertain exactly where the story might be headed as there seemed to be so many disparate parts.  As things began to become more clear, I honestly said, “Oh, crap” at one point when I realized the significance of a reveal.  While I had some problems with the pacing at the end, the final image was not only a perfect way to close out the feature, but also emotionally effecting.

Apart from the visuals and strong story, the actors proved to be a major strength to this film. Of particular note is the young actor who plays the son Lowen.  His performance proves to be the standout as he is probably only about three or four years old, yet he manages to be entirely endearing.  Combining his perfect portrayal with that of his shell struck mother created a dynamic that was easy to accept as being real.  This also heightened the moments of terror as both characters became close to my heart.

To be honest, this is not the type of movie that is trying to make the audience jump, but rather one that focuses on a creeping sense of dread.  As such, certain things remain loosely defined to allow the audience to insert their own meaning upon the proceedings.  When the more surrealistic touches come into play, the stark contrast is unnerving.

All in all, though there is a minor pacing issue at the end, this is an emotionally effecting story with a solid sense of dread.  The actors made us care about their roles and the young Lowen is a true standout in this piece.  Fans of things like Channel Zero (2016) and The Others (2001) will find this to be just as creepy.

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