Summary: In Entity, the site of a mass burial ground is simply the start of a trip into terror...which takes a moment to arrive. Combines point-of-view style footage with low budget film work in an interesting way, but ultimately suffers from a lack of a self-sustaining mythos and a need for stronger characters to fill out the small cast.
BLOT: (06 Jul 2014 - 03:57:16 PM)
Entity (2012 Horror Movie)
persons. Written and directed by Steve Stone. Starring Dervla Kirwan (Ruth), Charlotte Riley (Kate), and Branko Tomovic (Yuri).
gist. The Dark Secrets film crew show up at a mass burial site in Siberia where, twelve-years earlier, thirty-four unknown people were found. Russian officials have been pretty mum about who the people were or the cause of death, so relatively-local Yuri has called in the TV show [headed up by Kate], along with psychic Ruth, to get the truth. At the site, though, Ruth is drawn deeper into the woods towards an industrial complex where something bad took place—as witnessed by such things as human-sized cages and dark padded cells and flashes of human suffering. Ruth is initially unwilling to go on, but is prodded into digging into a different sort of burial involving dark hallways and government red-tape. As things wake up and personal secrets are exposed, the crew find themselves having to survive the night as things generally grow worse.
review. By combining point-of-view footage with more traditional filmwork, embracing without exactly mocking the reality-horror documentary, and having a few knowing winks towards the edges of the horror genre: you can see that Entity is aware of its place in the field.* Intriguingly, once you factor in the going-off-course nature of the crew, the slow build-up to the horror's start, the run from a shadowy entity through steam tunnels, the betrayal by authority, the bickering within the crew, and the sense of isolation as a primary motivation to survival—Entity also feels like a much younger cousin to the plethora of Alien-pastiches from the 80s and 90s. Comparisons aside, Entity mostly works as a film. The three lead actors are good, the work-horse setting is appropriate, and the eponymous Entity is genuinely scary at times while also being something nearly relatable. The implication of a lost generation and a lurking fear of authority by those outside the standard box adds flavor to the tale and the nearly unquestioned approach to psychic powers is refreshing-if-simplistic. Sure, they are running up and down indistinct corridors and sure, some of the character interaction feels scripted-toward-convenience, but its not like the movie ever really misses its beats. The problem is that it goes nowhere outside of the lines. In Siberia, no one can hear you scream, and the notion of this particular real-monster behind-the-scenes has been done before and in more well-rounded ways. The ending is both delightful and groan-inducing, perhaps unnecessarily mean-spirited at the last, though hinting at a larger picture to come.
score. 5/8, +1 for those who want an uncynical view of psychics in a movie, -1 for those who like things to hit the ground running. +/-1 depending on how much you like "sinister science" running in the background.
commentary. As a note, with some of the recent hoo-ha involving the Slenderman, I heard of a movie called Entity that dealt with the pale-faced-tall-one. I actually thought it was this movie, even though the similarities pretty much stop right outside a couple of aesthetic moments [including a digital camera that glitches in a few shots]. Turns out there is another movie, called Entity, that is much more obvious of the Slendy-mythos. Just kind of funny to think that if you look for certain elements—glitchy cameras, strange Entities, wooded locations and old tunnels [ala Marble Hornets], a sense of old legends—you can find them. It did not ruin the movie for me, but it did make it a bit surreal trying to figure out what some of the news articles were getting at.
OTHER BLOTS THIS MONTH: July 2014