UK Horror Festivals provide a diverse blend of entertainment. While I personally prefer taking the opportunity to watch vintage classic movies on the big screen, the fests also act as a wonderful showcase for the fruits of up and coming directors. One of the pictures getting a collective nod of approval from attendees at Celluloid Screams last year was a movie written and directed British filmmaker, Steve Stone. The film was simply called ENTITY.

In the depths of the Siberian forests, Kate Hansen (Charlotte Riley) is a woman on a mission. Eager to produce the most extraordinary episode of her supernatural show, Darkest Secrets, she has assembled an interesting and motivated team. Her two loyal crew members Matt (ex Corrie dude Rupert Hill) and David (Oliver Jackson) are on camera and sound duties. Yuri (Branko Tomovic) is their native Russian guide whose seemingly good intentions veil his own selfish objectives. But most fascinatingly is the inclusion of Ruth Peacock (Dervla Kirwan) an authentic psychic.

The show’s focus in this particular episode concerns itself the perplexities of a closed but unsolved case that occurred back in 1998. With Yuri’s geographical expertise and Ruth’s sixth sense, Kate hopes to finally elucidate the truth behind the discovery of more than thirty dead bodies in shallow graves within the vicinity over a decade ago.

The crew’s perseverance through freezing conditions suddenly starts to pay off. Not only does Ruth see an apparition, they soon are drawn toward across the forest toward a derelict industrial plant. As the ghoulish visions become more explicit Ruth’s instincts tell her they should call off their investigation and head back.

Ignoring her intuition, Ruth comes face to face with the shocking truth. The Russian government had inflicted torture and death on an assembled group of people with genuine psychic powers after a military experiment to exploit their abilities had failed. But once inside the walls of the abandoned building, the group soon learn that escaping the past is harder then uncovering it....

There is certainly no shortage of intended jumps and scares in Steve Stones’ inaugural picture. Indeed those viewers with a slightly weaker constitution for horror may find his movie a truly frightening experience. But for me, the scares were a little one dimensional in their execution. You see, while not strictly filed under the found footage genre, an awful lot of the frights came via the protagonists camera equipment. Interference and white noise sound effects accompanied the ethereal events and although it was a technique that admittedly worked at first, towards the latter of the movie it did become predictably irritating. At least Stone did not resort to ‘shakey cam’ tactics and if you can tolerate (or are even a fan of) found footage style escapades, there is much to enjoy in ENTITY.

At least the characters were not the usual irksome camera happy ‘You Tubers’ we often are subject to with a lot of FF movies. Yes at times the acting was a little flat but, at a minimum, their serious approach to the intended mission reinforced the austere atmosphere of Stones movie. This grave tone, backed up by the movies aesthetic, was one of its highlights. At times the colours were drained to near monochrome. It meant the initial execution flashbacks had a shocking air of authenticity to them and they served as an enduring hook that was crucial to the narrative. These scenes early on mixed with the outdoor setting were vital due to the fact the pace somewhat dawdled toward the conclusion once the plot’s revelations were divulged. The audio techniques also had differing levels of efficacy. While the haunting howls and echo’s in the primary part of the film were highly effective, when we got to being up close and personal with the spirits the rather grating screech they emitted were a touch over embellished. (I even heard someone question why "the ghosts sounded like aeroplanes?" at Celluloid Screams last year!)

While the movie is hardly laden with gore, the blood that is actually depicted is strikingly memorable. The aforementioned point blank executions are brutally efficient while some aftermath scenes of a couple of unfortunate characters look genuinely disturbing. Add to this a few demonically possessed faces in the suitably bleak, although rather telegraphed, pay off finale means the viewer can be in no doubt they are in horror movie territory.

All in all ENTITY is a very watchable 85 minutes loaded with tension and suspense. It’s just a shame the picture has a somewhat over reliance in depicting the story from our protagonists laptop point of view as Stone showed in glimpses he has a few original ideas up his sleeve.

Review by Marc Lissenburg

Released by Metrodome Distribution
Region 2
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review