The Entity (Sidney J. Furie, 1981)

The Entity is conceptually an interesting story… it is perhaps even an interesting novel, but it is not an interesting film. Not only overlong, the film fails to convey the underlying feelings of despair and anxiety; the horror is never developed in an appropriate or thrilling way. The first attack and rape is not only shocking, but disturbing and frightening. The subsequent attacks should only escalate this hysteria, but they never do. The repetitive and even cyclical nature of the plot is not an inherently poor storytelling technique, it is simply poorly executed. The repeated attacks are not only meant to escalate in violence, they ought to take on new significance and reflect the chaotic state of mind of the protagonist. Based on a true story or not, the narrative should not ignore the thematic and emotional states of its characters. This is perhaps the film’s greatest failure. Though a film about great traumatic experiences, with a character who has not only lived a very difficult sexual and romantic past, but continues to, there is little (if any) insight into this state.

The introduction of the real believers is extremely poor; they are not only uninteresting, but clumsily introduced. That particular narrative thread, which leads into the film’s final act, is piss poor, and distances the film even further from the emotional and psychological aspect of the narrative. Also, the sheer outrageousness of their attempt to “capture” or prove the existence of an entity is just weak. Also, the electrical charges! So, so terrible… I knew it was the beginning of the end when they begin to “attack” Bill. Just terrible.

The film is not all bad, the performances are all strong. Hershey does her best with a rather inconsistent character and a terrible plot. Ron Silver is also quite brilliant, and the film’s strongest scenes are the ones between the two.

5 responses to “The Entity (Sidney J. Furie, 1981)

  1. I remember watching this as an eleven year old and being disappointed that there wasn’t anything scary, and that it was all just weird sex stuff. Now all I recall when thinking back to it is that scene where her boobs indent as the ghost is touching them. I wonder how they did that…

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