Entity (2012)

Directed By: Steve Stone
Written By: Steve Stone
Starring: Dervla Kirwan
  Charlotte Riley
  Branko Tomovic
  Rupert Hill

After a lacklustre CCTV-cam opener featuring a prisoner going a bit nuts and floating, we’re taken to present day Sadovich in Russia, where a bunch of British filmmakers are wandering through the blue-tinted Russian woods. They’re there to film the latest episode of the “Darkest Secrets” reality television programme, a series which delves into bizarre mysteries and tries to solve them… with a psychic.

The psychic this time round is the ridiculously-named Ruth Peacock (Dervla Kirwan) and she’s been hired to uncover the mystery of a mass grave, discovered deep in the Siberian woods.

This leads the crew and their Russian guide Yuri (Branko Tomovic) to an abandoned factory, which might be ground zero for some evil Russian experiments. Ruth Peacock believes this evil place was used to harness the power of psychics, trying to make them into weapons.

Unfortunately it appears the Russians were not fantastically patient and decided to murder every psychic, often shooting them in the face. Sadly for the film crew, this has left a bundle of very sad psychic ghosts hanging about… including one truly psychotically pissed off one.

Entity is as cheap as a can of Lidl beans, but does well to source nasty-looking locations that kind of look like Russia. Unfortunately this cheapery is laced throughout the production and – whereas some filmmakers can do a LOT with little – director / writer Steve Stone really makes Entity look cheap.

The film is packed with multiple shots of people looking down a corridor, really really scared. Like, a LOT of looking-scared shots, as if someone figured it was better doing that than using slow-mo to extend the running time. The acting is decent but the thin plot forces the normally-superb Dervla Kirwan into a giant exposition machine and psychicliché.

The other characters – especially the male ‘crew’ – are little more than disposable characters, which is shocking for a film with a main cast of five… Now, Entity could’ve very easily been effectively terrifying and displaced any reason for me to dick on cheapness and thin plotting, but unfortunately writer/director Stone replaced any sense of tension with noise, flashing lights and deliberately confusing direction. Instead of “oooh, what’s that?!” you end up screaming “what the fuck is going on?! What’s happening?!! Come on! What is that? An angry ball bag? WTF?”

The camera is wildly flung about far too often and usually at the moment something interesting begins to happen. It’s a frustrating experience! The most frustrating thing with Entity, however, is the convenient filming. Despite an overuse of it, the film isn’t exclusively ‘found footage’, so when these segments appear it is clear (to the audience) that it’s a directorial / writing decision to obliterate sense in a shallow attempt to generate fear.

This on/off approach to found footage simply doesn’t work – it just reminds you constantly you’re watching a movie. Now, Entity is not an awful film. It has some nice ideas and spooky locations, but some terrible directorial choices make this a frustrating and deeply unfrightening little British horror. It is a decent enough feature debut for Steve Stone, but for a horror audience this may be deeply lacking.

Rating: ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆

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