TIFF 2017: Midnight Madness Gets Psychedelic With The Crescent

The Crescent

Who’s Behind It

Directed by Seth A. Smith (Lowlife) and written by Darcy Spidle.

Who’s In It

Danika Vandersteen, Woodrow Graves, Terrance Murray, Brit Loder, Andrew Gillis.

Who’ll Love It

Fans of lo-fi horror and hi-fi psychedelia.

What’s It About

Following the death of her husband, Beth (Danika Vandersteen) takes her young son Lowen (standout toddler performer Woodrow Graves) to her mother’s house, which she is in the process of selling. Eventually, they cross paths with a cautious child (Britt Loder), who warns them to stay away from the locals. Of course, Beth has many other things on her mind and, before long, she finds herself haunted by an old guy with a beard ponytail—and other mystifying forces.

Why You Should See It

As this tiny Canadian film begins, we are treated to striking psychedelic imagery that recalls 2001: A Space Odyssey and the work of experimental filmmaker Jordan Belson. Variations on this imagery appear throughout, contrasting with the film’s relatively straightforward, lo-fi handling of everything else. This contrast gives the psychedelic flourishes added impact, but it makes the rest of the film look comparatively uninspired. Midnight Madness programmer Peter Kuplowsky compares The Crescent to Messiah of Evil and Beyond the Black Rainbow, two far more carefully crafted and idiosyncratic cult oddities. Horror obscurity Eyes of Fire—which Kuplowsky also name-drops—is a more suitable point of comparison, as it shares The Crescent’s mix of moments both unrefined and strikingly vivid. Horror fans who insist upon engrossing narrative and grade-A aesthetics should probably avoid The Crescent, but others are likely to enjoy getting lost in its trance-like state.

When You Can See It

Thursday, September 14 at 11:59PM (Ryerson); Friday, September 15 at 6PM (Scotiabank 11). Tickets available here. Release date TBD. Check out the trailer below.