Review for The Entity
‘The Entity’ hails from the halcyon years of modern horror film-making. Made in 1982, and released in early 1983, it followed a long line of top notch supernatural thrillers, many of which could be considered hard acts to follow. Yet, despite falling off the radar in recent years, it stands up there with the very best of them. This Blu-Ray release should go some way to putting it back on the map, allowing viewers to reappraise it, and new viewers to admire it.
Despite sounding positively hokey on paper (based on a supposed true story), the film does an incredibly good job of making the unbelievable frighteningly real. The almost documentary style moving camera, mixed with some incredible performances (Barbara Hershey should have got an Oscar for hers) makes ‘The Entity’ one of a very few supernatural thrillers that stand shoulder-to-shoulder with great films of any genre. But I am letting my enthusiasm for the film get the better of me – I haven’t even touched on what the film is about.
Hershey (The Right Stuff – Hannah and Her Sisters) stars as Carla Moran, a single mother who is juggling work, study and child-care in an effort to improve her family’s lot. One night, having returned from class late, she catches up with her teenage son and two small children before retiring to her room.
Shockingly, she is then violently raped by a malevolent but invisible being with almost super-human strength. Her son rushes to the rescue but can see no one on the house and no signs of a break in. In fact, all the doors and windows are shut.
She is repeatedly attacked in her bedroom, in her bath and in her car (after she leaves the house). Police and psychiatrists are understandably sceptical, believing the attacks to be a manifestation of some repressed psychological fear.
Finally, when she is attacked in front of her children with the result of her son also being injure, a psychologist, Dr. Sneiderman (Ron Silver), takes up her case. Knowing how implausible her experiences sound, she keeps all the events secret from Jerry, her boyfriend (Alex Rocco). At first, Sneiderman is sceptical but events are such that he can no longer ignore the possibility that what she says is true. Besides, he has developed feelings for Carla and cares very much about helping her and her kids. So between them, and two specialist parapsychologists, they set about trapping the entity and bringing an end to its reign of depravity and terror.
The ending may seem a little far-fetched (even if the attacks themselves don’t) but by then, you’ll probably have bought in to the whole idea wholesale, like I did. It’s a film that makes it easy to suspend disbelief. Apparently, such events did take place to one Doris Bither in Culver City in 1974, though to accept the whole thing as actually ‘real’ is a stretch – which is kind of the point of the film in the first place.
It’s all brilliantly done and is genuinely scary, not to say disturbing, making this by far and away one of the best supernatural horror films I have seen in a while.
Possibly the film never quite got the place in history it deserved due the release of the equally excellent ‘Poltergeist’ in the same year, covering similar subject matter (albeit less shocking) in a similar way. Though directed by Tobe Hooper, it had Stephen Spielberg’s name all over it (as Producer and writer) and as a result, became an instant box-office smash.
As a result, this Blu-Ray edition of the lesser known film is much appreciated. Picture quality is more than acceptable with a decent transfer of a clean print – probably the only sensible way to own the film. It’s mercifully presented in its original 2.35:1 ratio. So what you see is what was intended by the Director.
However, the disc is somewhat let down by a paucity of extra features. In fact, other than a trailer, there is nothing else here. Curiously bare-boned for a Eureka release.
All in all, a spectacular supernatural thriller and one which deserves to be seen. Highly recommended.