The Crescent (2017 film)

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After an unexpected death in the family, a woman and her small child are enfolded in an atmosphere of dread at remote estate on the coast.


Promotional image for The Crescent...
  • Release Date: 2017
  • Country/Language: Canada, English
  • Genres/Technical: Horror, Fantasy, Art/Experimental
  • Setting: Modern Canada (but could as easily have been set in any era and coast)
  • Runtime: 1 hr 39 min
  • Starring: Danika Vandersteen, Woodrow Graves, Terrance Murray
  • Director: Seth A. Smith
  • Writer: Darcy Spidle (screenwriter)
  • Producer/Production Co: Nancy Urich, Cut Off Tail
  • View Trailer: (link)
  • IMDB Page: (link)


MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: not rated (equivalent perhaps to PG-13)

I don't remember seeing any extreme violence beyond a not-too-upsetting example at the climax, and I don't recall any nudity, adult content, or strong language, and it's not even an especially scary movie, but I doubt many kids will be comfortable watching this one: it's slow-moving and creepy in a way that can really get under the skin and perhaps cause some nightmares, without providing much to entertain a youngster with. The small amount of violence that is there is brief and not very gory, but probably still strong enough to require some parental discretion (a home invader gets his head mashed with a stick full of nails on-screen in a relatively bloodless special effect).

Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • SS___ (Two Tentacles: Barely Lovecraftian; vaguely similar in tone, could be a very loose adaptation)

I think the right atmosphere of cosmic dread is there, and some characters and the main premise could plausibly be compared to or linked with Deep Ones, though no explicit Yog-Sothothry, tomes, and that sort of thing appear in the movie.

Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.


Review Links:

  • Marina Antunes at Quiet Earth (link) - "...manages to be a wonderfully creepy experience. ...there's always a feeling that something nefarious is creeping in the shadows of the house and also in the water and the marbling artwork which the mother partakes in. Both feel like characters in themselves."
  • Joe Bendel at J.B. Spins (link) - "It is definitely a slow-burner with some unambiguously metaphysical concerns, but it also has its scary moments. is the unnerving sound design that makes the film so potent. Even though ... draws things out too long, it is still an eerie film with post-viewing staying power."
  • Jennie Blue at Cryptic Rock (link) - "The Crescent introduces a haunting tale set by the sea. To be fair, however, it is not the landscape itself that is to be feared here, but rather, the terrors of the sea as well as those that lie within each of us...
  • Jay Clarke at The Horror Section (link) - "Mixing the washed out hues of a dreary seaside with the visually stunning practice of paint marbling, The Crescent's aesthetic was really something to behold. When you add the music and sound design (like the persistence of the crashing sea) you end up with something akin to a fever dream."
  • Ben Larned at Daily Dead (link) - (4/5)- "Smith’s vision harkens back to DIY classics like Carnival of Souls...simple “what if” scenarios brought to fascinating life by an experimental style and subtle approach to scares. ...The ending is slightly too long, certainly, and favors blunt explanation rather than enigma."
  • Andrew Mack at Georgia Straight (link) - "Horrorheads might be reminded of other liminal resort-side haunts in Carnival of Souls or maybe even 1973’s delicious Messiah of Evil."
  • Joseph Perry at When It Was Cool (link) - "Smith creates a mesmerizing, claustrophobic world chock full of eeriness. ... If seasoned horror fans reckon that, because of its secluded oceanside setting, this film might have some Lovecraftian overtones, they won’t go away disappointed, but it is important to note that Smith has much more in store than just that..."

Synopsis (SPOILERS)

 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)

After an unexpected death in the family, a woman and her small child are enfolded in an atmosphere of dread at the remote estate on the coast to which they have retreated for healing, where weird and surreal things begin happening. Most of the movie is taken up in the woman's rather hypnotic art techniques and the film's strange music score, before following the surprisingly photogenic toddler child-actor through the dark and eerie house for about a third of the movie's run time, while sinister things happen in the background and just off screen, before the movie pulls a Carnival of Souls twist involving what are, effectively, Deep Ones, who have, with one exception, come to welcome the family back to the sea and return the child to life after the family's deaths/near-deaths in a boating accident; the exception is an elderly neighbor, a sea-thing disguised as a human, who wants to steal the child's body to extend his unnatural existence....


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