DAWN OF THE CRESCENT MOON ** USA 2014 Dir: Kirk Loudon. 95 mins

This indie horror subverts expectations set by its archetypal skinny-dipping slasher style opening sequence – becoming a relatively ambitious story blurring past, present, dreams and reality via different storytellers and perspectives. A young couple in a small Texas town, affectionately referred to as “Bumfuck, Nowhere”, research the legend of “Blood Lake” with a little help from tetchy but good hearted bartender Cyrus (Barry Corbin), the kind of booze gatekeeper who doesn’t serve wine because it brings unwanted city folk.
He relates the story of a group of college students who showed up in town for a class project about local legends and learnt too much about an Indian curse and a secret stash of gold. Unusually good natured, this takes time to flesh out even the most initially shallow characters, with Brooke Coleman’s vision-laden Goth, Lauren Leal’s pretty blonde and Johnny Walter’s cocky jock afforded a little more depth than usual. A long campfire sequence is typical of the character-driven, talky nature of the film and it is arguably too mild and light on gore for most contemporary audiences. The biggest asset is undoubtedly the charming performance from veteran actor Barry Corbin (whose credits encompass everything from M*A*S*H to NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN) as a wise hybrid of harbinger and Basil Exposition.

Review by Steven West

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