Directed by Dallas Richard Hallam and Patrick Horvath
If you’re unprepared for it, living in Los Angeles can prove to be a challenging and isolating experience for those who move to the City of Angels in search of something more in their lives. Case in point is Suzy, the young protagonist of the psychological thriller Entrance, which is set to debut on Friday, June 24, 2011 as an official selection of the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival.
At the start of the movie, we sense that Suzy (Block) is feeling stuck while living in Los Angeles. We see her going through the motions of her life- she wakes up, she makes coffee, she feeds her dog Darryl, she goes to work, she comes home and readies herself to do it all again the next day. She no longer cares about those around her (except for her canine companion) and seems unable to connect with her friends or even her roommate Karen, who does her best to try and provide support for Suzy as she struggles to make it all work out in her new-ish surroundings.
But as her repetitious days come and go, Suzy starts to notice some odd things going on, and her paranoia starts to settle in. She hears things while showering alone in her apartment, rowdy guys yell things at her while walking on the street and random cars in her neighborhood start following her home from the bar at night. All of those little frenetic moments lead to Suzy’s ultimate breaking point- Darryl goes missing one night, and feeling more alone than ever, Suzy decides she’s had enough of living in Los Angeles and decides it’s time to pack it in and head back to Michigan.
But on her last night on the West Coast, Suzy and her friends throw a goodbye dinner party in her honor, and that’s when the story of Entrance hits its stride as we soon realize the paranoia that Suzy was experience throughout the film was justified as her farewell dinner party evolves into something far more sinister than just drunk people dancing badly to cheesy music in the living room.
With Entrance, filmmakers Dallas Richard Hallam and Patrick Horvath have created a fascinating character study that feels infused with hints of films like John Carpenter’s Halloween, Dario Argento’s Suspiria and Bryan Bertino’s The Strangers; but it somehow manages to never feel like they’ve borrowed or ripped anything off to create their creepy and unsettling tale about urban paranoia. Both the story and approach by Hallam and Horvath feel fresh, and I think Entrance is by far one of the more effective “slow burn” genre films to come out in the last five years.
Much of the credit of how absorbing Entrance is to watch can be attributed to the performance by Block, who feels like someone we all know in our own lives. She’s a normal girl thrown into a very abnormal situation, and because of Block’s compelling and natural abilities in front of the camera, we actually care about what’s going to happen to her in the third act. That’s what makes Entrance stand out from a lot of the more recent mainstream slasher flicks- while those films approach the slasher subgenre with the “more victims, the better” mentality, Entrance takes its time and lets the audience connect with Suzy so when the stakes are raised, we actually care whether or not she lives in the end.
Entrance isn’t going to be for everyone, though- viewers who aren’t huge fans of the subtle and “slow burn” approach to storytelling will undoubtedly be feeling anxious by the second act, and that’s a valid response. But for those of you out there who enjoy horror films that skew on the unconventional side, Entrance is very much a film you’ll want to experience for yourself.
3 1/2 out of 5
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