The Entity Blu-ray Review
The Entity, a 1982 cult classic psychosexual demonic possession horror by The Ipcress File's Sidney J. Furie, still gets under your skin 35 years later.Furie's narrative structure treads a fine line between its outright paranormal activities (which is what we, ostensibly, see to begin with) and its more intriguing psychological bent, the latter of which is rarely exploited to good effect in modern films. The key here is to posit Barbara Hershey's heroine as a genuine victim of supernatural rape, but then follow her interactions with Ron Silver's science-driven psychologist, who tries his best to convince her (and thus us) that it's all a psychological manifestation, and that the harm done to her, she's effectively doing to herself. The fine line as to whether the terror is real or imagined is what initially elevates this above the usual horror fare, giving it an added dimension beyond the standard 'nobody believes her' angle.Hershey and Silver are utterly committed to their respective roles, with Hershey (enjoying a brief 80s resurgence later helped by Scorsese with The Last Temptation of Christ) particularly devoted to exploring her character's plight with conviction. Silver's a nice character actor who hasn't really had many opportunities to shine beyond scatterings across the years and plays well against the insistent Hershey. Furie's De Palma-esque dioptic shots and sharp camera angles (which he used to great effect in The Ipcress File), as well as his clever staging of the 'attacks', give The Entity a strong identity and style, whilst the unusual subject matter also sets it apart, even if, as with many great premises, the end conclusion doesn't do the setup justice.
Picture QualityThe Entity gets a Region B-locked UK Blu-ray release courtesy of Eureka, who deliver a strong but also flawed 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 widescreen.
It looks good but one can't help but feel that it could have looked better
For years, fans have been suggesting that The Entity was in much need of a remaster, and, with their track record, it's somewhat surprising that Eureka do not look to have sourced a new 4K or even 2K master for the purposes of this release (as they are more than happy to do with plenty of their even less well-known titles), but have instead chosen to utilise what looks to be the same flawed master than Anchor Bay used for their 2012 US release, albeit with a new encode and higher bitrate.
The results are likely a step up for that earlier counterpart, but are still far from perfect although, on the flipside, it's also far from a bad looking piece, with some nice textures, and some detail beneath the surface, even if there's a softness around the edges evident in some scenes more than others (curiously, the darker sequences seem to fare better, with the final act 'electric lightshow' boasting some very good shadow detail and clarity. Perhaps we were always likely to be hampered by this - Furie has a style for angles and softer looks not wholly uncommon for the era (think: 80s De Palma) and in some of the shots the focus is just off, which no amount of remastering could fix (conversely, the dioptic shots look excellent) - and all of that could be argued to suit the dreamy (or, more aptly, nightmarish) visuals at times, but, doesn't make for technically good video presentation. Despite that, The Entity sometimes manages to look quite good, although one can't help but feel that it could have looked better.
Sound QualityThe accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is a solid but also unexceptional offering, which delivers decent dialogue reproduction, reasonable effects observation and good scoring, although seldom leaves a lasting impression beyond the intense assault scenes.
The audio track is solid but seldom leaves a lasting impression
Dialogue remains prioritised across the frontal array, whilst the score raises the tension in key sequences and drives the more dramatic moments, giving the surrounds plenty to do (every rape sequence is an intense aural invasion). Effects are limited, both by design and reproduction here, but there's enough going on to keep you engaged.
ExtrasMuch like the US release, we still don't get any extras here, but at least there's a menu and a trailer, I suppose, which is arguably more than the US release had.
Blu-ray VerdictA clever approach to the premise elevates The Entity above the usual horror fare
Eureka's Region B-locked UK release of The Entity doesn't appear to upgrade the video much, and the audio is solid at best, and there are also no extras aside from a trailer, but since there's isn't much of a better release out there, it would appear that fans will have to settle for this.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £14.99
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