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Case Number 13551

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The Entrance

Lionsgate // 2006 // 81 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // May 2nd, 2008

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All Rise...

Satan thinks he's so cool. Judge David Johnson begs to differ.

The Charge

No Sin Goes Unpunished.

Opening Statement

"Inspired by true events?" Ha. Still, The Entrance is a winner.

Facts of the Case

A wild-eyed man runs through a parking garage, screaming for help, fleeing an unseen force. When he tries to tell his story to hard-nosed female Detective Porhowski (Sarah-Jane Redmond), he finds it a hard sell. She is reluctant to believe his tale, which goes a little something like this: he and three other men were captured and tossed in a dark room and forced to compete in a variety of simple challenges, the loser of which would be forced to watch a film reel of a particularly egregious sin he or she committed, followed by an unsolicited shagging by an invisible demon presence.

When she refuses to pursue the lunatic's ravings any further, he takes a more aggressive approach, forcing her to the parking garage and fulfilling his part of a supernatural pact. And what she finds is a pot o' devilry.

The Evidence

I've mentioned this before, but I'm a fan of the religious horror genre. Satan, demons, fallen angels, supernatural retribution, cryptic ramblings of a Biblical sort, bizarre symbols carved into flesh—that's all present and accounted for here. And tying it all together is a clever story and some very strong performances.

But…while I'd still recommend The Entrance to religious horror aficionados, there is one major caveat: the film doesn't quite fit its already slight running time of 81 minutes. That is, I'm not feeling there's enough content here to justify a feature-length release. Director Damon Vignale does his best in stretching the material to fit in the full-length britches, but as effective as he can be, he ultimately can't compensate for the script's shortfall. As it winds down toward the end, the film's already slow and steady pacing (which works fine in the beginning as an atmosphere-setter) betrays the dearth in storytelling. The five-minute, uninterrupted sequence at about the hour mark with Redmond walking cautiously through halls is a killer. And the final confrontation is especially drawn out, though the final scene is appropriately and rewardingly ambiguous.

It's this ambiguity that is actually one of the film's biggest selling points, and the themes of retribution and moral cloudiness are employed well throughout, lending the experience some emotional depth. The demonic characters exist to both punish the damned and attempt to seduce the innocent, and Redmond's character is given several choices in the story that have the capacity to push her into the clutches of Beelzebub. And we all know that that's not a great place to be. Can I hear an Amen?

No? Fine. Anyway, the idea of supernatural influences on humans by demonic agents takes a prominent role and represents the most interesting concept at work in the film. The gimmick with the games, on the other hand, is derivative of the Saw franchise and didn't do too much for me.

Taking a look at the entire endeavor I would say check it out if you dig thrillers about fallen angels and demons and the special type of tomfoolery they can get into, just expect an outing that sometimes feels artificially expanded.

A clean, attractive 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen and a 5.1 Dolby Digital surround mix provide a nice technical treatment, but the standout feature on the disc is great 15-minute making-of documentary; it's not epic in scope but provides an honest, concise look at the rigor of creating films on a low budget (and the brevity of the script is addressed as well).

Closing Statement

It's fiscal bottom line is miniscule in comparison, but The Entrance schools bigger budgeted religious-horror brethren like Stigmata and The Order.

The Verdict

Not guilty. Though the court would have like a leaner, meaner cut, which, would, admittedly, have brought it into broadcast hour-long status.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 90
Audio: 85
Extras: 85
Acting: 75
Story: 85
Judgment: 82

Perp Profile

Studio: Lionsgate
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Subtitles:
• English
• Spanish
Running Time: 81 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Rated R
Genres:
• Horror
• Thriller

Distinguishing Marks

• Behind-the-Scenes

Accomplices

• IMDb








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