Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Barbara Hershey, Ron Silver
Director: Sidney J. Furie
Audio: Dolby Digital Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Studio: Anchor Bay
Features: See Review
Length: 125 Minutes
Release Date: May 3, 2005


Film **

The thought of someone being constantly attacked by an invisible force is frightening enough. For Carla Moran, that thought was a reality, and still is to this day. She suffered from periodic encounters from an invisible presence which attacked through a feeling of sexual assault. Her terrifying encounters are reflected in the paranormal thriller, The Entity.

The movie is based on true events. Moran, played by Barbara Hershey, is a single mother of three children. Her ordinary life is changed forever the night she finds herself being raped by an unseen force. Despite repeat encounters, her claims lead everyone around her to think that she’s completely lost her mind.

Among the people unconvinced by Carla’s attack story is her best friend, Cindy (Margaret Blye), as well as her psychologist, Dr. Sniderman (Ron Silver, in top form). The doc insists that attacks are in her head, and she must find a way to overcome them somehow. She soon comes across as team of paranormal experts who may have a clue as to what Carla is under attack from.

As far as horror movies go, The Entity is somewhat unique. The notion of an invisible force attacking anyone is a darn good setup, either if it’s based on true events or not. And there are sequences of undeniable creepiness, as when Carla is attacked by the force in her bathtub.

At the same time, what should’ve been an effective and terrifying film is for the most part repetitive and pretty exploitive. It attempts to induce a feeling of fright by basically doing the same scene over and over again. To make matters worse, the invisible force is accompanied by the same thudding music score each time it attacks.

Added to that, when the appearance of the entity is revealed, is a pure letdown. The lackluster visual effects don’t help the movie either. Even for a movie made in 1981, better visuals could’ve been a bit more, particularly in the over-the-top climax.

As it turns out, this is yet another horror film slated for a remake in 2006. Director Hideo Nakata (The Ring 2) is slated to direct, and one can only hope that it adds up to a bit more than the original. Never thought I’d ever be saying that.  

Video ***

This anamorphic video delivery from Anchor Bay is a most impressive, especially for a 20-plus year old film. The movie is frequently shot in dark settings, with most of the central action taking place at night. Despite periodic image softness, this is good enough handling of an 80s film that could’ve easily looked worse.

Audio **1/2

The 2.0 mix does as much as it can. The highlight of the presentation are the sequences where the invisible force attacks its victim. Dialogue is much clear in delivery, and the overall sound quality is a lot better than expected.

Features **

Included is a documentary titled “The Entity Files”, which delves into the aspects of similar encounters in real life. There is also a theatrical trailer, and a screenplay viewable through DVD Rom.


The Entity does have the proper elements for a truly scary film, but it falls flat due to the overall lackluster effect it delivers along the way, as well as being a little too long. Nice performances and individual moments, though.

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