Ken W. Hanley
Stream to Scream: “ENTITY”
As many fright fans already know, FANGORIA offers a great selection of gruesome movies, old and new, for free at our Hulu channel. To give you a better idea of what’s available, FANGORIA is taking in-depth looks at some of the channel’s terrifying titles with Stream to Scream. Today: Steve Stone’s haunting film ENTITY!
One unique aspect of the horror genre is the appreciation for both excess and restraint. Stylistically speaking, excessive violence, gore and weirdness are generally accepted in horror as much as fans accept minimalism, atmosphere and creepiness. However, no matter what the approach, either style is dependent on that of a narrative or sensory payoff.
ENTITY definitively falls into the camp of restraint by establishing it’s tone on small, creepy peeks at a greater supernatural threat. Of course, all the ingredients for a scary haunting flick are there by way of the emotionally unstable psychic, an abandoned experimentation chamber locale and bits of found footage scares sprinkled throughout a conventional narrative. However, ENTITY remains engaging by never quite doing as one might expect, allowing foreshadowing to literally play out in the films’ shadow-entrenched sequences.
Director Steve Stone, making his debut here, has an impressively focused narrative and understanding of character even in the face of an occasionally cohesive visual style. Alex Veitch’s cinematography maintains the narrative continuity within this sporadically chaotic exhibition, and his use of color is nothing quite new. However, Stone and Veitch do construct some effective scares in their work together, instilling dread in the looming darkness of the exceptional on-location setting.
However, these filmmakers are only as strong in their minimalism as their actors are in keeping the characters engaging. Dervla Kirwin is great as the emotional centerpiece of the film, and her voyage through psychological and supernatural horror is nothing short of well-sold. Branko Tomovic also steals many scenes as the secretive native Yuri, connected in many ways to the secret atrocities that have manifested into spiritual terror. And the film also sports impressive smaller performances from Charlotte Riley, Rupert Hill and Oliver Jackson, as well as Michael David Worden as the titular ENTITY.
Even though it’s light on gore, ENTITY is satisfyingly scary by being both subversive to horror tropes while admittedly resourceful in nature. By sticking to basics, Stone and Veitch prove themselves a formidable team that often technically shines past their inexperienced nature. But the cast is the true saving grace of the narrative, keeping the action as interesting even when the story relies too heavily on it’s creepy, if derivative, atmosphere.