28th Aug2015

Frightfest 2015: ‘The Entity’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Daniella Mendoza, Rodrigo Fala, Carlos Casella, Mario Gaviria, Diego Seminario | Written by Eduardo Schuldt, Sandro Ventura | Directed by Eduardo Schuldt

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I don’t know whay i punish myself sometimes… You probably all know I’m not a fan of found-footage horror movies, usually because filmmakers use the concept as a lazy way of generating tension and scares. But I can’t help but still watch them in the hop that the next one will be the one to revitalise the format – in much the way the another Frightfest movie, the James Wan produced Demonic did. In that films case it used the format to tell the films backstory, letting the audience in on just what occured in its tale at the same time as the characters that watched the footage with us. However The Entity retreats back into all-too familiar Blair Witch Project territory.

The Entity follows a group of media students embark on a documentary project covering ‘Reaction Videos’ – the internet phenomenon that exploded thanks the the “2 Girls One Cup” videos featuring people watching the shocking footage. Well in this case the students find an example of a reaction video in which the original film is so terrifying the viewers have all died in mysterious circumstances. But what exactly is on this gruesome Internet footage? Their search leads to an obscure corner of cyberspace known as the Dark Web, a Quechua curse dating from the Spanish Inquisition and a demonic power they cannot escape from.

The Entity is a far cry from the likes of Project Almanac, the time-travel movie that, somehow, managed to use the cinematic conceit in such as way as to create excitement and interest. In fact I’d go as far as saying this is the antithesis of that film, rehashing the same cliches as every other sub-par found-footage movie – a lot of screaming, odd off-camera noises, arguing and shaky cam footage. You know the same old stuff we saw all those years ago when Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez unleashed their found-footage film on the world!

Sadly even the concept of investigating reaction videos works against the film – the internet moves so fast these days that the very idea of reaction videos already seems old-hat. Though its a credit to the filmmakers that they manage to weave ideas stemmed from Spanish/South American history, and in particular the Spanish Inquisition, into their tale. In fact the use of Quechua mythology its the one good thing The Entity has going for it.

It doesn’t help that the cast of The Entity, bar its sole female lead, Daniella Mendoza, are a bunch of unlikeable arseholes – either too arrogant or too stupid to be anything but hate figures. Even Mendoza, whose character seemed so strong and unshakeable at the beginning of the movie (for a reason may I add), turns into the typical horror movie stereotypical “helpless crying female”, eventually – even despite her character arc – becoming as annoying as her male counterparts. As for the sequence where the student investigators watch back the video footage that apparently got people killed… Well that plays more like a scary movie parody than the terrifying situation it should have been. And thats the problem with The Entity. Maybe this Peruvian horror loses something in translation, but at times it all seems a bit too “Scooby Doo-spoof” to be frightening.

* 1/5

The Entity has its UK premiere at Frightfest 2015 on Friday 28th August at 3.30pm in Discovery Screen 2.

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