If I had a fiver every time a horror flick landed on our desk that included the words documentary film crew and abandoned building in its synopsis, I could probably retire to that San Diego beachfront property I have always craved.

And, guess what? Here we go again with Entity, a low-budget British effort that sees a camera crew get caught up in all sorts of nastiness in the Siberian forests.

Sure it’s derivative, sure we have seen it all before, but Entity (obviously ditching the ‘The’ to avoid any confusion with the Barbra Hershey demonic sex film from back in the day) turns out to be a reasonably entertaining watch, thanks in the main to some genuinely tense scenes and solid acting all round.

The film has a pretty simple premise – a documentary crew from expose website Dark Secrets head to Russia after they learn of a hushed-up site where 34 bodies were found in a mass grave some years earlier.

Nobody knows who those bodies were, why they were there or what happened to them, but the Russian authorities shut down any sort of investigation back in the 90s.

Naturally this crew want to get to the bottom of the mystery, and their hook is that they are led by psychic Ruth Peacock (Dervla Kirwan) and guided by Yuri (Branko Tomovic), who has been digging around the sinister tale for himself.

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To start with it is all stomping through woodland, but before long they stumble across an imposing (and abandoned) building, which appears to be a hospital of sorts.

Trouble is though, this building (which naturally has little or no lighting) has an array of rooms containing such delights as electric chairs, blood-stained mattresses and plenty of cages and handcuffs.

Of course though, instead of hightailing it out of there at the first sign of trouble, the crew decide to stick around – and we all know that cannot end well.

I’m actually doing the film a little bit of a disservice there as in the main the characters do as you would expect someone to do in that situation, although there are still some mystifying moments.

Kirwan, for example, in one early scene goes from screaming hysterically herself to berating someone for doing the same – in the space of 30 seconds.

There are also a few of the ‘head towards the nasty noises’ moments which just don’t ring true.

In the main though this is pretty solid stuff, and director Steve Stone does a good job of building tension, whether it be through the effective use of night-vision camerawork, or the array of sinister sound effects that punctuate the soundtrack.

I should point out that anybody expecting a bucketload of gore to wash across the screen will be sorely disappointed, as apart from a couple of effects scenes, those sound effects mentioned above are the main source of fear.

But that probably works in the film’s favour, stopping the movie getting out of hand at any point.

The performances are decent all round, and that is a big plus considering some of the tripe served up by so-called ‘actors’ in many films of this ilk.

And it is also a welcome change that Entity does not go down the ‘found footage’ route, instead mixing a handful of handheld camera sequences among more regular film.

Entity is not a great film by any stretch, not even a very good one, but it is certainly decent and far better than a lot of hogwash the genre offers up.

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.