‘We may forget the past, but it never forgets us’
Entity is a 2012 British supernatural found footage horror feature film written and directed by Steve Stone (Deus; In Extremis; Schism). The movie stars Dervla Kirwan, Charlotte Riley, Branko Tomovic, Rupert Hill, Oliver Jackson and Michael David Worden.
In 1998, thirty four unidentified bodies were found in shallow graves in a remote Siberian forest. After subsequent investigations, no official explanation by the Russian authorities was ever offered about the circumstances of the deaths. The case was closed.
In 2010, a small English TV crew from the show ‘Darkest Secrets’ set out for the Siberian forest. ‘Darkest Secrets’ focuses on revisiting the sites of unsolved crimes and they employ the gifts of a psychic whose extraordinary powers may help shed new light on cold cases. The last communication to their production office in London stated that they were approaching the Siberian region where the bodies were found. Nothing was heard from them again. ‘Entity’ is the story of what happened to them. The forest was only the beginning…
There are nil points for originality, as the film travels that well worn path of a TV crew investigating a disused and haunted institution. Seriously, how many times has this story been told in the last few years? Episode 50, Paranormal Incident, The Lost Episode, Grave Encounters and more have travelled down this well worn, creatively exhausted path already – do we really need more?
Entity thankfully avoids the ‘found footage’ approach used by the aforementioned films. This was a surprise, as the synopsis suggests that’s what we’ll get, but the film instead takes a more conventional narrative approach – for the most part.
Unfortunately, director Steve Stone can’t resist the urge to mix in some shots as seen by the camera and this is merely baffling. Found footage is one thing, and at least pulls you into the story through that format; traditional third-person film making does the same. Mix the two and you are constantly pulled out of the narrative by sudden lurches in format.
And frankly, it’s not the ‘found footage’ format that makes most of the above-mentioned films so poor, but rather the bad acting and thin story. The same, sadly, is the case with Entity.
If you’ve seen any of the other films that use this concept, you’ll know exactly what to expect. However, if that includes any scares or tension, then you’ll be disappointed. Instead, you get thinly-drawn characters mumbling limp dialogue as they wander around in the dark and occasionally have a supernatural encounter.
There is zero involvement for the viewer and the mix of bad acting from most of the cast – admittedly not helped by their one-dimensional characters, poor dialogue recording – although the film deserves some credit for the odd moment of atmospheric sound – and general murkiness adds up to complete tedium. In the end, the film simply fizzles out, suggesting that even the producers were bored with the story.
Entity offers nothing fresh and even within the not-exactly high standards of this particular sub-genre, it’s pretty tedious and forgettable. Unless you are a Brit horror completist, I can’t think of a single reason why anyone would need to see it.
David Flint, MOVIES and MANIA
“Writer / director Steve Stone does a good job of pacing his film and sensibly recognises that in films such as this less is almost always more. The tension is created by atmosphere and suggestion rather than by explicit gore or violence. But unfortunately, the film is always battling against the reality that most people who see it will, like me, have seen numerous very similar films before.” HNN
“In a genre where there are so many other films out there, Entity struggles to distance itself from the pack. With a film such as Grave Encounters, you can give it some leeway for not taking itself too seriously at certain points. Entity doesn’t do this. Instead, the film plays it straight all the way through, but the story, the effects and the scares let it down.” Starburst
“Entity is genuinely frightening. It combines dread-laden atmospherics with a wealth of ‘jump’ moments’. Fine photography and use of sound, an intelligent script and strong performances add to the blood-chilling effect. Well worth a look.” This is Horror
Riccall and Selby, North Yorkshire, England