May 18, 2012

Filthy Review - Entrance

Entrance (2012)

Review by Jude Felton

Generally speaking you know that you are getting a horror flick from either the name of the movie, or maybe even the accompanying artwork. You know this and your mind is ready for whatever horrors may be coming your way. In that respect horror can be very predictable; the film might be amazing, but you still go into it knowing the genre into which it falls. Why do I mention this? Glad you asked to tell the truth. Allow me to elaborate.

The reason I mention the fact that most horror is obvious in its first impression is because the film I am now reviewing, Entrance, is very much a horror film. However, if you just went by the artwork or title you may not realize this. Even the accompanying synopsis doesn’t really imply too much in terms of content; it is very vague. This also works in the film’s favor; Entrance is a subtle film, so subtle in fact that you won’t even realize you are watching a horror film until it sucker-punches you.

The story of Entrance, which I will keep brief and vague intentionally, is concerned with the life of Suzy. She lives a mundane existence in Los Angeles, a fact that is repeatedly emphasized and, despite her interactions with her roommate and other random folk, only has any real connection with her pet dog, Daryl.

Despite her seemingly quiet, and some might say boring, life there seems to be something not quite right. She can’t put her finger on what it is; did she really just hear something? Is she being followed? These are questions she constantly ponders and only time will tell as to whether something is indeed amiss.

For about an hour of Entrance not a lot really happens, on the surface anyway, and the film might be hard going for some viewers. When I say not a lot happens I really do mean it; we just follow Suzy around. It requires patience and concentration as beneath the mundane exterior there are fine cracks to this deceiving visage, if you look for them. The long, slow reveal being a seemingly intentional ploy to, not only, lull the viewer into a false sense of security, but also to keep in focus the life that Suzy leads.

So, for an hour or so in this 80 plus minute movie we are kept waiting and watching until the jarring horror does indeed reveal itself. I mention this, not to spoil the movie, but more to keep you aware that this is a horror film, and truth be known patience isn’t also the strong suit in this time of instant gratification. I am sure some viewers will not last through the quiet bulk of Entrance, which is a shame because it is a very well-crafted film. Suziey Block, as Suzy, keeps hold of your attention and gives a captivating performance of a troubled young woman.

Credit must also be given to directors Dallas Hallem and Patrick Horvath, who along with two other co-writers, chose not to take the easy route when delivering this tale. It could so easily have been turned into a generic flick that would have added nothing to a crowded market. Instead they have crafted this slow-burn journey that demands the viewer immerses themselves into the film.

Shot in a handheld style the film, visually at least, is very matter-of-fact and almost plays as a home video. I don’t mean in your Paranormal Activity kind of way, although there are visual similarities, I mean more of the fact that Entrance seems to just be a document of Suzy’s life. The camera is always there, even when you would rather it wasn’t there. Watching Entrance I was reminded of the 1991 film Slacker, directed by Richard Linklater, which I always enjoyed. This time however the film follows one journey instead of several, but visually and stylistically at least this is what I got from Entrance.

Would I recommend Entrance? Most definitely. Films don’t have to be predictable in structure and execution, patience can be rewarded and some films don’t wear all their horrors out in the open. Entrance isn’t a typical horror film, and I am sure there will be many that loathe it due to its pacing. I say give it a chance, I personally really enjoyed it and I am positive I won’t be alone. The film may be set in LA, but this sure isn’t Hollywood.

Entrance is released by IFC Midnight at theaters and on VOD from May 18th.

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