The trio behind 2012’s fever dream–like Lowlife return with a hallucinatory story focused on a woman and her child enveloped by creeping dread upon retreating to a remote coastal estate.
Seth A. Smith
A woman and her child are enveloped by an eerie atmosphere and creeping dread upon retreating to a remote coastal estate in The Crescent, Seth A. Smith's hypnotic collision of supernatural surrealism and verité aesthetics. Having deliriously blended sensibilities reminiscent of the two Davids (Cronenberg and Lynch) with their fever-dream debut Lowlife, Smith, producer Nancy Urich, and screenwriter Darcy Spidle again conjure an unnerving and psychedelic horror trip while cementing their reputation as Canada's most indelible melders of genre and the avant-garde.
The trio boldly rests this uncanny drama on two first-time performers. Danika Vandersteen rises to the challenge with cracking stoicism, portraying a woman haunted by encroaching otherworldly entities and keeping it together while drowning in grief. But her two-year-old co-star steals the show. The natural, unrehearsed presence of young Woodrow Graves (the real-life son of Smith and Urich) endears but also imbues the film with an unpredictable, occasionally anxious undercurrent. And that makes for a unique counterpoint to the controlled, stylish spectacle of the cosmic interludes that the film oscillates into through its experimental and enthralling employment of paint marbling.
Evoking the ambition and hallucinatory heights of fiercely independent horror films such as Messiah of Evil, Eyes of Fire, and Beyond the Black Rainbow, The Crescent casts a spell that truly haunts.