Directed by Sidney J. Furie, The Entity is a supernatural horror film based off the 1978 novel of the same name. Written by Frank De Felitta (who also wrote the screenplay for the movie) the book was based off the true story of Doris Bither.
Doris Bither was a woman who claimed she was being raped by the ghosts of three men in 1974. Paranormal investigators were called in and one, Barry Taff claims to have photographed orbs during their investigation.
This gives The Entity credence to throw in the tagline ‘based on a true story’ as part of its selling point. However, as you might expect some reading up about the Doris Bither case hardly convinces of there being any actual truth to the story.
That’s beside the point though. We’re not reviewing the case or if the movie adaption of the book is accurate. We’re reviewing the movie as a movie. Is it entertaining? Chilling? Scary? Satisfying? Let’s find out.
Barbara Hershey plays Carla, a single mother who is trying to make the best of life. With two young girls and a teenage boy, it’s not always easy but the family seem happy. That is until Carla is attacked one night by an unseen entity that rapes her.
She confides in her friend but it’s not until she almost has a car crash caused by the unseen force that she seeks professional help. She meets Dr. Sneiderman (Ron Silver), a kind man who wants to help her as best he can. However, he is a man of science and puts Carla’s problems down to delusions. Based off her upbringing, sexual assaults she suffered and death of her first husband.
At home the attacks on Carla get more and more violent and she is raped time and time again. Including one time in front of her children which sees her son end up with a broken wrist.
No-one believes the family though and it’s not until the ghost destroys the house that her friend finally becomes convinced. Together, they find some paranormal investigators who are naturally sceptical but agree to check it out. What they find shocks them and they set out to try and document proof of this entity’s existence and hopefully free Carla from its grasp.
Their involvement annoys Dr. Sneiderman though who has grown fond of Carla. He sees them and everyone else as feeding her delusions and refuses to accept that anything supernatural could be occurring.
Will he become a believer by the end of the film? Will Carla ever be free from the violent spirit?
What great movie The Entity is. A harrowing, uncomfortable and at times, frightening movie. It’s one of the finer supernatural stories you can watch thanks smart writing, great tension and excellent acting. This a horror you watch from behind a cushion, not just because of the ghostly scares but because of the harrowing rape scenes. These moments are very difficult to watch especially as Barbara Hershey’s character is one you get behind.
She is fantastic here and the hell her character goes through is startling stuff. Her fear, panic and horror of what is happening is expertly shown. When she finally reaches breaking point and defiantly faces down her aggressor, it’s very hard to not jump up and punch the air in support.
The rest of the cast are great too, in particular Ron Silver whose character is one many can identify with. He just can’t accept the possibility of ghosts and with no definitive proof, he has an answer for every bruise and cut on Carla. Can he be blamed?
The Entity is a frightening film. Not just in regards to the content but how it shows it. The tension as Carla lies in bed and the curtain moves slightly. Is it the wind or is it something way worse? The film lets us drink in that feeling before revealing its hand. Other times, the attacks happen in an instant turning a happy moment into one of complete terror. Wonderful.
So where are the flaws? Well, they all come in the final quarter of the movie. The finale is disappointingly poor and at odds with the smart paced tension of the film. Instead we get an over the top goofy attempt to capture the spirit in liquid nitrogen. It’s almost the opposite of what we had seen up this point and it’s a relief when it ends.
The final scene of the movie happily closes out in chilling style and the text that appears on the screen won’t help anyone sleep well afterwards. A classic supernatural horror. Flawed ending aside, The Entity is a thrilling, unsettling and memorable horror.