PrintE-mail Written by John Townsend

Following an opening that consists of a few tension-filled minutes, The Entity (La Entidad) sadly descends into the kind of formulaic found footage fare that gives the genre a bad reputation. Given the disappointingly lazy filmmaking that builds towards a truly unsatisfying conclusion, it’s difficult to see where the estimated $3 million budget was spent. Perhaps cemeteries are expensive locations to film in?

To complete a film school project, four students, including the immediately suspicion-arousing Carla (Daniella Mendoza), decide to investigate reaction videos. This new internet phenomenon records innocent people’s reactions to watching extreme footage, and one in particular piques their collective interest. In true overused horror tradition, and stop us if you’ve seen this one before, everyone who watches this video winds up dead. As the group investigate further and visit the cemetery at the centre of the mystery (at night obviously), they each come under attack from the sinister demon responsible.

The Entity is a poor found footage film for the simple reason that it ignores the fundamentals of actually being one in the first place. There are many, often justified, criticisms of the format, but if done well it can be a genuinely frightening and effective medium. Films such as the classic The Blair Witch Project and the recent The Borderlands are perfect examples of keeping things simple, of following the “rules” that mean you don’t immediately alienate an audience usually sceptical of found footage.

The first problem with The Entity is in the editing. Instead of following a naturally progressive narrative, flowing as if it were true found footage, this is a film that is put together like a traditional feature for maximum dramatic effect. Not only is this poorly done anyway, it serves to convince that this footage isn’t genuine to begin with. If, as the filmmakers opening script would have you believe, this is the result of several hours of archive that was “delivered” to an individual, why would that person then make it as dramatic as possible and not simply document the events? Couple this with the we’ll-tell-you-when-something-is-going-to-happen soundtrack and you have a found footage film that doesn’t seem to think it is a found footage film.

The other major issue, and there are too many others to mention, is in the justification of the cameras. Rarely in a found footage film is this pitfall completely avoided, but with The Entity you find yourself yelling at the screen more than usual; “drop the camera!”, “just run” and “just call the police” are lines you may scream on more than one frustrated occasion.

If you are a found footage sceptic avoid The Entity at all costs; no good can come from you watching it. If you are on the fence or a fan, if nothing else this film will make you appreciate the simple brilliance of The Blair Witch Project. There are many poor films in the genre, but there are also good ones made by talented people that prove this is a style of filmmaking still being explored. Seek out The Borderlands, The Banshee Chapter or REC to see how good a found footage film can be; just don’t watch The Entity. Ever.



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