Reviewed by Melissa Bostaph
Starring Sarah-Jane Redmond, Michael Eklund, Ron Suave, Frank Cassini
Directed by Damon Vignale
Distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Although very uncommon, there are those times when couples disagree about trivial subjects. Take my husband and me for example. We hardly ever disagree, especially when our opinions about movies are involved. We can sit for hours and discuss the finer and not so fine points of cinema without ever becoming irritated or raising our voi…
Oh boy! I need to drop that load of horseshit before the heavens open up to release the lightning on me!
Suffice it to say that after watching The Entrance, my husband and I had totally different reactions to the film. It may have been his developing migraine, but he hated it and was none too shy about making it known. His outburst of negativity was not only a shock to me, but it also caused me to utter a hushed “I liked it” as he stormed out of the theater in search of pain relief.
Upon speaking to other members of the audience, I found that my husband’s opinion was in the minority. Which brings another rare occurrence to light … my husband just might be wrong.
Shhhh! That can be our little secret.
In actuality The Entrance is an intense horror/thriller that delves deep into the depravity that man is capable of and the lengths to which he will go for self-preservation. The premise is simple really; it’s the twisted sadism of Saw with Satan himself at the helm. Although it is all too possible for a film like this to appear to be a copycat rip-off of the lucrative Hollywood title, The Entrance avoids this with its distinctive approach to the subject matter. It takes the basic idea of punishing the dregs of society portrayed in Saw and puts a supernatural spin on it that should keep fans from being insulted.
The morally depraved individuals involved are gathered together and forced to play various games of chance. Musical chairs is forever tainted for me, and the image of elderly women wielding their little plastic chips and daubers, hovering wickedly over the expanses of numbered cards, flashing hateful glares across smoky cafeterias at those who yell “BINGO!”, has been replaced in my mind by an even more disturbing one. You see these seemingly humdrum games have been transfused with life-or-death consequences. You lose … You die!
One by one they play the games, and at the completion of each match the group is shown a film that presents the gory and unflattering depiction of the loser’s misdeeds. The film is followed by that individual’s immediate and brutal demise. Now Satan may be a malicious bastard, but you can’t accuse him of being unfair. The unwilling participants in these devious games have equal chances to succeed, and the “lucky” winner of all the demented rounds is given a final chance at survival. You’ve heard of “an eye for an eye”? Well, The Entrance is all about “a soul for a soul.”
During the course of the film the audience follows a female police detective who is led deeper and deeper into a world shrouded in occult forces by a desperate man with a criminal record and an implausible story. Soon she is forced to face a painful past and an even more agonizing present. In a fight for her very soul against the powers of darkness, the lady detective finds herself in the worst case scenario with no means of escape and no hope of salvation.
The Entrance is packed with stunning photography and effective visuals. The direction was helmed by the very competent Damon Vignale, who also penned the story. The actors who worked on this film delivered superb portrayals in some very uncomfortable roles. The effort that obviously went into the film did not go unnoticed. The Entrance was awarded the Best Director Award, and Michael Eklund received the Best Actor Award at the 2006 Eerie Horror Film Festival (which is actually where I had the pleasure of viewing the film for the first time).
There is very little that I can say in a negative tone about the film. I can, however, state that I was somewhat shocked to discover that the running time clocks in at a mere 81 minutes because it felt like a much longer movie. This could have been due to one of many factors: knowing my husband was suffering through the pain of a headache, the fact that I had been watching back-to-back films for several days straight, or simply that there was so much content in the final half hour of the movie itself that I couldn’t fathom it all being packed into such a brief amount of time. Even with that I don’t consider it a true detraction from the overall quality of the film.
I consider The Entrance to be one of the more memorable films I saw at the Fest and would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good suspenseful thriller. It may not be for everyone though due to its graphic imagery and some uncomfortable subject matter. As for me, I thought it was a fantastic journey into the dark recesses of man’s psyche and his willingness to sacrifice another for personal gain. Of course I have a predilection toward the more extreme when it comes to cinematic ventures so I may not be the best judge of such a gritty battle between innocence and evil! *grin*
Some time has passed and the film is now available on DVD. Considering all we get is a brief sixteen minute making-of and the trailer you would think that the powers that be at Lionsgate were siding with my significant other!
One thing I do know, and this is particularly gratifying to me personally, is that I can be confident in the knowledge that my husband was indeed … wrong!
4 out of 5
2 out of 5
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