The Crescent (2017) [Brooklyn Horror Film Festival 2017]

Following a death in their family, a woman and her son go to the family’s secluded house to try and heal and find their way.

Written by Darcy Spidle and directed by Seth A. Smith, The Crescent is more family drama than horror film, but it does have some horror elements involved. The story is one of the slowest burns seen this year or maybe even this decade, it’s slow to a painful crawl. The film has some good elements, but they get lost when the viewer loses interest due to the pace and the fact that most of the conversations are between a woman and her small child. Those conversations are cute at times, but they bring pretty much nothing to the story. If the film had been entirely silent as some of its scenes are, it may have had more impact. As it stands, the film’s dialogue eventually feels useless and like babbling. Missing parts of it is not that big of an issue, which is not something that helps keep attention to the film. The story itself feels a lot like something that could have made a short with a brisker pace and this would have been plenty time to tell the story.

Playing the mother in The Crescent is Danika Vandersteen who does give a good and honest performance. She plays the mom, Beth, with a natural talent that creates a character giving the viewer the impression that they are peeking into the life of a real grieving woman, one who is trying to keep it all together for the sake of her child. Playing this child, Lowen, is Woodrow Graves who is downright adorable. His performance is good considering his age and the amount of work he has to do. His lack of experience may actually have worked in his favor as he gives a natural performance that is not just adorable, but also brings the viewer in at certain times when they may have lost interest.

The cinematography is what saves this movie. The work of Craig Buckley takes the film and brings it to a level where it makes the viewer want to see it all. The images, particularly the outdoor ones, are beautiful, grey, and almost solemn. His work brings emotions to the film and makes it something the viewer pays attention to. The way the grey outdoors are used to create a feeling for the film is great and the careful framing of the images show a mastering of image creation.

The Crescent is a film with good intentions and talent involved, but the lack of almost anything going on and its supremely slow pace just lose the attention which it then has a hard time to regain. By the time things of interest start happening, it feels like too little too late. The child lead is adorable and natural in his work here and the rest of the cast also does well, but paired this with beautiful images is not enough to really save the film. The potential emotional impact is lost in the vague emptiness of the film. It’s one that has a ton of talent and possibilities, but it just feels overly long and empty.