Ginger Nuts of Horror
Yet another entry in the mock-documentary/found footage genre, Peruvian film La Entidad (The Entity) begins with a lot of promise and the potential to sit alongside such fare as Atrocious or The Afflicted.
It begins with a slightly extended prologue showcasing a video supposedly surfacing on the 'Deep Web' (a concept of unrestricted internet that actually does exist), purporting to be of some strange creature seen in an old cemetery. This is followed by many, many more videos allegedly of the same thing, though in true horror film fashion, the creepy atmosphere is created through use of sound effects and viewer expectation, though there is a blink and you'll miss it appearance from...something. This then makes way for some professional looking titles, before we're introduced to our familiar - at least in a conventional sense - student documentary crew.
The actors are competent, if a little lacking in charisma or personality, and the premise is sound enough - they want to create 'reaction videos' (videos in which people watch disturbing scenes and the students film the reactions with a possible view to following up what was watched) for their project/course work. Through a series of slightly unlikely events, they watch an already filmed video, which shows three youngsters watching something that seems to cause them great distress. This is the first missed beat of the film, as the video feels very false, both in the reactions of the trio and in the badly made attempts to give the footage a worn look. Through more unlikely circumstances, they find out who one of this trio is and track them down only to discover all three have subsequently died. Further investigation eventually leads to the cemetery and the discovery of an old film reel showing an individual tied to a tree and moaning in pain. As some of the students watch this, one of their number is attacked by an unseen force - following some very well-realised cam footage wandering around the cemetery in the dark - and the survivors run off, leaving his mutilated corpse in panic and fear.
It's a decent start and set-up that manages to generate a respectable level of fear and dread, but sadly, about halfway through, descends into cheap effects, increasingly ludicrous situations and over the top, irritating 'acting', that any effect built up in the first half is pretty much obliterated. The warning signs begin when we are treated to a sub-standard shadow creeping out of a mirror. Then, there are the incongruous reactions of characters who, only a few hours previous, were witness to one of their number being ripped to pieces by an unseen monster. Now, however, they are quite happy to calmly continue with their project, to go and check out strange knocking sounds and to enlist the help of someone who has not, up to this point, even been mentioned in the film. Stealing ides from Evil Dead, Ringu and pretty much any possession flick, this film fails to reach any of the heights of those it desperately wants to be. It genuinely feels like a film of two distinct, and uneven, halves. The latter half essentially consists of everyone screaming at each other in increasingly more hysterical and over the top fashion, with very awkwardly and extended attempts to shoehorn in what I felt were completely unnecessary exposition sections, and some almost laughable practical effects; one scene has two characters show up to the home of the newly introduced member of the team, only to see her float in front of their car, legs kicking. If I hadn't been busy shaking my head, I'd have laughed. It almost felt like a scene from a Scooby Doo film (and there's also a very hard to swallow 'unmasking' twist scene at the end, that doesn't make a huge amount of sense). One other aspect that really pissed me off - and it's something I try not to think about when watching found footage film, but in this case it was near impossible to put aside - was the fact that they KEEP FIMLING! How, in the name of all that is holy and unholy, do they not just drop those cameras and fucking RUN?? Unless your film is exceptional, it's something that has to be addressed in a believable way in this kind of venture.
It's a real shame, as the beginning has so much promise, but ultimately, the makers fail to capitalise on what initially starts out as a well-crafted film. It's almost as if a different crew came in halfway through and took over. Maybe they got possessed...