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Carla Moran awakens one night to find herself being beaten and raped by an unseen presence. Terrified of what's happening to her, and shunned by friends and family who think she's lost her mind, she seeks help from parapsychologists.
For more about The Entity and the The Entity Blu-ray release, see the The Entity Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on July 9, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Barbara Hershey, Ron Silver, David Labiosa, George Coe
Director: Sidney J. Furie
» See full cast & crew
The Entity Blu-ray Review
The entity stole my menu screen!
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, July 9, 2012
I don't understand what's going on.
The Entity rises above the standards of recent "Horror" movie plots and characters and truly terrorizes its lead character and, by extension and because the script is smart and the acting fine, the audience. Director Sidney J. Furie (Iron Eagle) directs a story based on both the real-life experiences of Carla Moran and a novel of her story written and adapted for the screen by Frank deFelitta. The picture challenges viewers to not only jump at scary sounds and images, but to place themselves in the haunted home and body of the heroine, to think through the challenging scenarios and opposing viewpoints, and yes, to cower in fear along the back wall or under the blanket, to truly feel the tingling, pulsating, body-numbing, mind-rattling scares that await, rather than merely watch them unfold on the screen. The Entity moves beyond the Horror movie "boogyman" villain and creates a terrifying, well, entity that's more frightening than men with razor-sharp fingers or machetes. This is true terror, and the most frightening part of all is the question as to whether it's real or just a figment of an overactive and very troubled imagination.
Carla Moran (Barbara Hershey, Falling Down) seems like an everyday mother of three, struggling to get by, take care of her kids, and make a life for herself in those few moments of freedom between work and the chores at home. But there's something not quite right in her life. One night, she's smothered by a pillow, nearly killed by an invisible force much stronger than she. The house rattles and shakes, she grows cold when it comes, and the physical attacks continue, only increasing in frequency and the fear they generate. She visits a psychiatrist, Dr. Sneiderman (Ron Silver, Timecop), whom she shows physical evidence of the attacks -- bruises and scrapes -- while claiming to have been raped by the entity. Carla reveals a troubling past, and Sneiderman believes the attacks to be fabrications of her imagination and her wounds unconsciously self-inflicted in an effort to give further credence to her delusions. When Carla providentially meets a pair of paranormal academics, she agrees to allow them access to her hauntings in hopes of finally discovering whether the entity is real or merely a delusion shaped by her overactive and highly troubled imagination.
The Entity is a legit, honest scary movie, a movie that foregoes gore and false scares in favor of true butt-clenching terror. It's a simple premise but acted marvelously and crafted sufficiently; the film never relies on camera trickery or an artistic flair to mask shortcomings, but rather makes use of angles and perspective and otherwise skewered shots to enhance, not explicitly generate, an edgy, chaotic, uncertain vibe. The picture's additionally paced with a deliberate cadence; the tradeoff is a movie that's a bit overlong and stuffy in a few stretches, but that fills out nicely by the end, taking the time to develop the scenarios and the characters, to truly become submerged into the horrors that await the characters and the audience suffering alongside them. Additionally, the scary moments can be rather repetitive, but they remain visually, aurally, and psychologically effective nonetheless, thanks to practical visuals and that haunting, hellish refrain that both enhances the sharpest and most focused scares and reinforces the more subtle nuance that shapes the film beyond the shrieking terrors and physical destructions of the "entity." The straightforward style keeps the focus on the problem; the picture never drifts, only diverges through dueling thought processes as to what may be happening to Carla and why.
That forked road generates much of the picture's success. It travels down the paths of Carla's mental state, the movie attempting to sort out whether she's a legitimate victim of a physically violent and haunting specter, or if she's merely a mental lost cause, inflicting physical damage in an effort to bring to life her disastrous imagined images. The picture's intermingling of the real or imagined attacks and the probing into the psychological and supernatural elements create a fascinating juxtaposition, giving the film an angle and an intelligence so often lacking in the Horror genre. Add Carla's troubled past and the disturbingly graphic and sexual nature of the attacks, and the movie engenders a terribly uncomfortable atmosphere, not merely a frightening one. Barbara Hershey masters the art of "person in peril." Her turn as the troubled, haunted, attacked, and frightened Carla Moran solidifies the story to a degree that plot and direction and atmosphere alone cannot. As the audience becomes more unsettled, she becomes the rock, remaining terrified and traumatized to be sure but demonstrating a burgeoning confidence in her ability to confront the "entity" as it increases its attacks and even as she surrounds herself with those who would see her through the ordeal, regardless of what may be causing that ordeal or why. The remainder of the cast sinks into part with little effort, but Hershey shines in a movie that demands a strong lead who cannot only react to the situation, but evolve with it.
The Entity Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Entity haunts Blu-ray with a serviceable but forgettable and often disappointing high definition transfer. Nighttime and dark scenes suffer through some evident crush. Parts of the image appear a good deal soft, though others appear nearly razor-sharp. Some scenes look as if they've been somewhat scrubbed down, but others see light grain fluttering about the frame. Fine detail rarely impresses. The transfer yields detailing that's near the bottom of the acceptable level for a Blu-ray release, even for an aging catalogue title. The image is mostly flat and lifeless, never exploding off the screen and certainly never offering up sharp, well-defined details. Colors appear dim and slightly washed out. There's little vibrancy to the image. Granted, much of it takes place in lower-light levels, and those few times where it does go bright, it offers up a wider, more balanced color palette, the book store where Carla meets the paranormal academics being perhaps the best example, with that scene's brighter lighting and the multicolored book spines seen throughout the frame. The image does see a fairly steady stream of spots and pops, but they do not appear with so much frequency as to distract from the picture. It's clear that little effort was made for this Blu-ray release. That's a shame; the movie deserves better.
The Entity Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Entity spooks up a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack that's effectively rattly but not all that sonically impressive. Music offers up a fair low end presence, but the midrange and highs lack precision clarity. The music is absolutely defined by the frightening, heavy, repetitive, shrieking, metallic, haunting, demonic refrain that accompanies the entity appearances and jolts the audience as much as the accompanying visuals. There's a definite lack of clarity to the refrain -- it's a bit mushy and rattly -- but in this case, the scraping, somewhat sloppy sound actually seems to enhance the element rather than detract from it. Light ambience and smaller sound effects are infrequent, but adequate, the best example being a ticking clock heard in otherwise quiet rooms. Louder effects -- most coming near the end of the film in the form of shattering glass and mechanical whirls and grinds -- are also absent crisp definition. Dialogue plays with reasonable definition and intelligibility, though it, too, succumbs to bouts of sonic sloppiness. Overall, a below-average track, bolstered by that sharp, scary refrain, yielding but a forgettable listen.
The Entity Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Entity contains no supplements. A menu of any kind is not included. The optional English SDH subtitles must be selected via the player's options screen or remote control device.
The Entity Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Entity rises above general genre schlock and recycled elements to create a truly immersing, complex, visually frightening, and psychologically grinding motion picture experience. The movie plays on the dichotomy between the real and the imagined, the fragility of the human psyche and the power of the imagination to conjure up truly grotesque and horrific things. Or, perhaps, it's all real. It's the fringe science of the paranormal against the hard(er) science of the human condition, with an innocent woman caught between, an innocent woman suffering either way. The movie's terror comes from both the unexplainable phenomena and the physical altercations alike. Wonderful acting and steady direction shape The Entity into a can't-miss experience. Unfortunately, Anchor Bay's Blu-ray release offers up no real reason to watch for anything other than the content of the film itself. Middling video and audio disappoint, and no supplements are included. Anchor Bay has once again, as has been the trend with these 20th Century Fox catalogue titles, foregone a simple pop-up menu, let alone a main menu. Then again, there's nothing to select aside from a single subtitle option (note to Anchor Bay: chapter selection is usually considered a given on even the most sparse and cheaply-produced Blu-ray release). The Blu-ray isn't worth much, but the movie is. Rent, or buy whenever the asking price plummets towards the cost the release commands.
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