Noticing the review for AN AMERICAN HAUNTING, I have to confess that I was interested in seeing it from the preview trailer, but one thing made my interest go soft about as quickly as the hard-on of an adolescent leafing through a medical textbook about STD`s...the PG-13 rating.
A case has to be made somehow for ghost stories (actually for ALL horror stories worth telling) that haven`t been crafted for members of the Cult of Mary Kate and Ashley. THE ENTITY is one of those stories: a full-strength, balls-to-the-wall excursion into terror about things that go `bump` in the night. HARD.
Barbara Hershey got critical raves for her unguarded performance as single-mom Carla Moran, who has enough problems in her life just trying to raise two kids and make ends meet. Then one night she is viciously attacked and raped. And if that`s not bad enough, she can`t I.D. her assailant to the police...because he was INVISIBLE.
An unseen assailant? How does anybody give a logical explanation for that one? That`s the least of poor Carla`s worries, because the attacks continue, growing in ferocity. Desperate for help, she consults a psychiatrist (Ron Silver), whose advice turns out to be, of course, about as useful as putting Anna Nicole Smith`s tits on Horatio Sanz.
When the assaults begin to affect her friends and family, Carla finally turns to a team of parapsycologists for help. The ending is a rush to a certain point, but unfortunately, unlike the wallop packed into the ending of such ghostly thrillers as POLTERGEIST, THE ENTITY`s finale seems oddly anti-climactic, (especially since the special FX budget was probably compromised...you`ll see what I mean.)
Hershey and Sidney J. Furie took great pains to make the rape/attack scenes as squirm-inducing as possible, so that even though Carla is admittedly in the "hot babe" category, you still feel like a slimy perv, watching not only what seems incredible, but scenes you feel like you SHOULDN`T be watching or becoming aroused by. Which is not a minus, believe me.
Ron Silver and respected character actor Jacqueline Brookes ably represent the opposite sides of science and the supernatural with their characters, debating heatedly about how the two disciplines can never come to terms with which is right in helping Carla with her case. But Hershey puts a strong human face on the semantic arguments; where these academics and scholars are struggling for their reputations, Carla is fighting for her life.
Though the film is somewhat dated in its execution now, thanks to all the advances that we`ve made with CGI and blue/green screen work, THE ENTITY still has a worthy place in the pantheon of great modern-day ghost stories, or tales of the unexplained. I`m not a big fan of remakes, but if done right, maybe someone should take a stab at this one.