The Entity Review
The question about the existence of ghosts has been a hot topic of debate since the birth of civilisation, with many tales of people who claim to have seen or felt the presence of the supernatural. Ghost stories have also become the backbone of the horror genre, with many being the most chilling parts of the cannon. One such story, a film that is perhaps one of the most thought-provoking and one that Martin Scorsese lists as one of the scariest movies of all time, is The Entity which appears on Blu-ray this month.
Based on actual events, the film follows single mother, Carla Moran (Barbara Hershey), who after coming home from work one evening is violently assaulted by someone that isn't there. She seeks help from psychiatrists, but they don't believe her story, she must try to convince the people around her that she is not crazy and find a way to get rid of the abusive spirit.
The Entity's story is a rather interesting one, based on a 1978 Frank De Felitta novel, which in turn is based on the 1974 case of Doris Bither, a single mother who alleged that she was raped by the spirits of three men. The film starts out on an ordinary day, with Carla Moran is going through her day. However, when she is attacked it cuts through the movie like a knife, showing how brutal it is. I think the film does very well in presenting a wholly terrifying scenario, that is made all the scarier by having it set in a contemporary America and having no one believe the main character. Barbara Hershey plays Carla Moran to perfection. This doesn't mean that Hershey has some great speeches or obvious style to her performance, rather I fully believed in Hershey's portrayal of Carla, she felt like a real person. It is this that is the cornerstone of the whole film; without a central character who is believable, likeable or sympathetic, the terror wouldn't be there.
The Entity is an intelligent and chilling supernatural thriller that I enjoyed, at least I did at the start. The ending of the film seems entirely too absurd. The last scene is pitch perfect, but the previous climax in the laboratory felt like it came from another, louder and dumber, film.
Similarly, I would argue that the story gets quite confused or perhaps it missed a perfect opportunity to generate the terror that it wanted from the start. The first attack of The Entity will possibly live on as one of the greatest horror moments, but by showing this from the outset, the film blew a golden opportunity to slowly build to a horrifying reveal. If the perspective of the movie had been shifted to Carla's psychologist, Dr Phil Sneiderman (Ron Silver), the audience may have mainly remained sceptical until the unquestionable climax, with strange but explainable details sprinkled throughout. While this may have destroyed the female-centric themes of The Entity, regarding pacing and character, it would have hit harder. I think that it becomes plainer as the film goes on that it doesn't particularly know where to go, with ramping up the damage done by the entity and thereby ruining the climax.
Furthermore, after the second attack, the film appeared to devolve into titillation that was in terrible taste. The Entity seems to almost bank on a level of eroticism as seen in the poster and Blu-ray cover. This appears to go against everything that the movie appears to do in the first half. Finally, and perhaps more obviously, the acting of some supporting players becomes so over-the-top it becomes laughable. The most obvious example is Alex Rocco, who plays Carla's boyfriend. When he sees her being attacked in one of the more well-done scenes, he seems to channel the best and worst traits from 50s B movies rather than a more modern film.
The Entity definitely has a strong start, but it seems to lose steam when it comes to the third act. Maybe that is because it is based on a real-life account of the haunting, from a woman who had a history of substance abuse as well as a traumatic childhood, but the film has some obvious inconsistencies in the nature of the entity that I couldn't get over. While Barbara Hershey does a wonderful job in playing the abused mother, the film itself can't get over that initial and shocking impact.
Eureka! the distributors of this Blu-ray, have provided a working disc. Over the 119 minute runtime, there were no errors in the transfer of the film to 1080p. In fact, the clarity of vision does effect the verisimilitude of the effects. However, apart from that, it is a lavish looking disc.
The menu itself is rather simplistic, though that means that one will have no trouble accessing what you want from the movie.
I do hate saying this over and over again when releasing a disc, please try to have more than just a trailer, because in an age where internet streaming services mean that you pay a third of the price of this disc per month you need a lot more than that to justify its shelf space.
The Entity, of course, just comes packaged with a trailer. So already I can only cautiously suggest this Blu-ray. If you already like the movie, and are upgrading your home video collection, then go for it. But for me, Blu-ray need to be a bit more than an okay movie and a trailer for me to shell out.
The Entity is marketed as "A Story so shocking, so threatening it will frighten you beyond your imagination". However, it only seemed to do that once, right at the very beginning. The rest of the time, while I was entertained, couldn't get past those first 30 minutes. It definitely isn't a bad film; the special effects can be fantastic, and Barbara Hershey's central performance is riveting.