Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review: The Entity (1982)

Often when it comes to horror movies, it's what we don't see that's more terrifying. Our imagination, for which there is no substitute, filling in the blanks. This is definitely the case in The Entity; in which mother of three Carla Moran (Barbara Hershey) is violently raped by an invisible assailant inside her California home. This simple but frightening premise is base on the true events in the life of the real Carla Moran. Her case is considered to be the one of the most extraordinary in paranormal and psychological research.

While the film greatly excels as a supernatural thriller which provides a number of genuinely horrifying scenes, character development unfortunately falls very short in addition to a drawn out and underwhelming climax. Carla's two daughters almost feel like extras, with barely a sentence of dialogue. This I think was a missed opportunity to further enhance the emotional impact their mother's horrific ordeal. Although an aspect of The Entity I found to be very interesting and brought a good amount of balance to the story was the psychological side of Carla's unique situation. This is explored through local university psychiatrist Dr. Sneiderman (Ron Silver) who Carla is urged to see by close friend. While it is blatantly clear that what is happening to Carla is real, a sceptical Sneiderman does manage to unearth some interesting childhood and adolescence traumas. They don't offer an explanation but do offer an insight into Carla's life and possible reasons why she is the target of this unknown malevolent force.

The numerous scenes where Carla is being violently molested are extremely disturbing. It's really unlike anything I've seen in a movie of this nature. Barbara Hershey's intense physical movements combined with tight camera work and impressive practical effects are what make the terrifying encounters so effective and distressing. I don't think I've winced so much while watching a horror movie and from me that's saying a lot. Performance are strong from both Barbara Hershey and Ron Silver. Hershey as Carla conveys the torment, confusion and emotional distress of what is happening to, allowing the viewer to easily sympathize. Also her perseverance and defiance brings a sense of optimism towards the end of the film. Silver is very professional as Dr. Sneiderman. Although sceptical he is very caring of Carla, willing to help despite making little progress. 

Martin Scorsese considers The Entity to be one of the scariest films of all time. After finally satisfying the long curiosity I've had with it, I can really see why.  


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