This horror film from Nova Scotia, Canada has an excellent though slow beginning. Weird colourful patterns are formed and changed, which seems to flow naturally. Those who are in engineering or science, will be quick to realize that the patterns follow the Second law of Thermodymanics which state that the entropy of a closed system will always increase towards its equilibrium. So, is the chaos that affects the mother and young son in the film something that will naturally occur?
The film, after the opening credits and patterns turns to a funeral service where the preacher talks about suffering and pain before coming to a final rest. The film then focuses on the single mother and young son, and advised by her mother (Danika Vandersteen) than in order to survive: “You have to keep a level head.”
Smith plays around with sounds effectively as he uses different sizes images to frame his film. The frame sizes change when showing an image as seen from a window or from Beth’s paintings. Smith also uses tilted and upside down images, the latter as seen from the reflection of the sea water at low tide as Beth and Lowen (Woodrow Graves) walk along the beach. The intermittent blaring sound is used at many points in the film. The sound could be the sound of a ship’s horn as one blaring during a fog or the sound of a house alarm system. Beth takes out the alarm electronics thinking it to be coming from there but the sounds persists during the night. Sound is also used to create ambiguity as in Lowen’s baby voice. The audience would strain to hear what the child is saying as he often mumbles along. Danika Vandersteen also delivers a memorable performance.
The best thing about the film is the young boy Woodrow Graves’ performance as Lowen. Lowen is hardly old enough to walk properly, less climb up and down the stair, and is seen throughout the film just mumbling his dialogue like a child. His humming of tunes, the child-like “Row, row, row your boat,” and utterings like: “Where’s mommy?” are so real and eerie. It must have taken Smith (Graves is his son) quite a while to film the boy’s abilities.
The actually ghosts first appear at the one hour mark into the film. For those who love their horror violent and gory, they might have to wait a while, but the blood parts do occur. Most of the weird puzzles are also explained by the end of the film, though a few more are introduced.
Smith’s film might be a bit too slow paced for the typical horror film. But THE CRESCENT more than makes up for it in terms of atmosphere and ecstatics. Normal horror fans will also not be too happy at this too arty piece of work that looks too smug for its own good.