The Entity, 2015.
Directed by Eduardo Schuldt.
Starring Carlos Casella, Daniella Mendoza and Rodrigo Falla.
A group of students discover a terrifying “reaction video” on the internet in which all the participants have died in mysterious circumstances. The search to discover the whereabouts of the video reveal an obscure corner of cyberspace known as the Dark Web where a curse brings death to all who witness the video.
What do you get if you cross The Blair Witch Project with Ringu? The Entity! Peruvian director Eduardo Schuldt brings his horror movie debut to the big screen, having previously worked on children’s animations such as Freedom Force (2013) and The Dolphin (2010). Although Schuldt shows an aptitude for providing scares and tension, there is nothing new in The Entity. In fact the title is pretty apt. It is an entity, it exists, but that really is all that can be said about it.
The plot follows a group of students who decide to make a video for their final project at college. The topic of the video is that of ‘reaction videos’ whereby people watch something shocking and their reactions are filmed without showing what it is they are watching. When the group stumble across some online reaction videos they see one that resonates. And not least of all because one of the group recognise somebody on-screen. They decide to investigate further and try and find out what it is that caused such a dramatic reaction. However as they dig deeper they realise that this isn’t just a movie. Watching that video leads to an untimely end. The film follows the group as they try to decipher what is going on and escape the clutches of whatever it is that is killing the viewers of the film.
You would be forgiven to confuse the start of this film with exerts from The Blair Witch Project if it wasn’t for the fact that they are in two different languages. You have the same shaky hand-held camera, the same über close-ups and the same off camera sounds and intonations. It is surely undeniable that The Entity, or La Entidad took its inspiration from Blair Witch style films and the plot itself is incredibly similar to Ringu, the Japanese horror about a cursed video tape. In the more modern Entity the spirit utilises webcams and online media sharing to fulfil its murderous needs, and with the added in Skype and security camera footage the film does feel more modern. This said, it still has that unoriginal flavour to it. Even the ending has a ‘shocking twist’ that really isn’t shocking. In fact it’s the opposite of shocking. It’s just plain predictable.
Whilst it is fantastic that Peruvian directors are looking to delve into the genre of horror and found footage style films, they need to look at more original plot lines and story. As we follow the group through a dark graveyard or a dimly lit library we could be in any number of films. The settings are too stereotypical and unimaginative and even when used to aid in the build up of tension they are ineffective. What does aid in building that tension and fear is the manipulation of the viewer’s imagination. For the most part of the film there is no visual of whatever it is that is chasing down the group. There are noises and attacks off camera, but no body or physical being is put to the entity and although this is a tried and tested method of implementing some scares into a film, it does work in The Entity. Unfortunately when we do begin to see the perpetrator it is a poorly CGI’d cloud, essentially. Some things are better left to the imagination.
The acting is fairly solid and from a cast that are all newcomers to feature films the performances are admirable. The scripting is functional but a little conventional, with lines that could easily have been pulled from any other found footage horror movie. With any found footage style film there has to be an aspect and naturalistic relationships and speech to make that scenario believable and within The Entity this appears to be lacking. Although the actors go all out in the screaming and running aspects, there does not appear to be much of a relationship between any of them, even the ones that are supposed to be ex boyfriend and girlfriend. The fear and tension is well portrayed, however, with palpable panic in some scenes.
Although The Entity has it’s downsides, it is not a bad film. It is not a great film either but it does have moments that make you jump and the plot itself is interesting if not underivative. The Entity would have been much better had it been released pre-Blair Witch/Ringu. As it is, the film is repetitive of similar movies, but still worth a watch if you have nothing better to do.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★