Written and Directed by: Dallas Richard Hallam and Patrick Horvath
Starring: Suziey Block, Karen Baird and Farley Burge
Although Entrance is being marketed as a horror film, it is actually a hybrid of character study and horror. I’m not going to lie; the first 2/3 of the movie is an exceptionally sluggish slow burn. I actually picked up the screening notes twice and reread them, because I thought I had been sent the wrong film. There’s nary a scare to be found, although the film does effectively build a foreboding sense of paranoia. At the conclusion of the film, I understood why the first part of the film works.
Think back to Ti West’s The House of the Devil. That film literally creeps up on you by slowly unraveling, all the while lulling the viewer into complacency. The result is a climax that seems a little more horrific than it would have if the film were packed with cheap jump scares and standard horror tropes. In terms of the odd pacing, Entrance reminded me of The House of the Devil, although the films are nothing alike in terms of plot.
Suzy (Suziey Block) appears to be a recent transplant to Los Angeles who has not quite found her footing. She has a repetitive, mundane daily schedule centered around her job as a barista. She slogs through the motions, but you can tell her heart is not in anything she is doing. One day she starts noticing very small things about her surroundings. None are significant (a strange noise while she showers, the feeling that she is being followed on the street) on their own, but as the days go by you can see Suzy becoming more wary and tense. It is difficult to ascertain whether she is making everything up in her head, or if there is an actual threat coming her way.
Suzy doesn’t seem to have any established relationships with people in Los Angeles, so when her dog goes missing, she is lonely and devastated, and decides to move back home. Her handful of acquaintances hosts a gathering to bid her farewell, and it becomes apparent that it’s not going to be easy for Suzy to leave town.
Dallas Richard Hallam and Patrick Horvath co-directed (and co-wrote) the low-budget film. Block (as Suzy) is the primary focus of the story, and her performance is very natural and believable. She’s relatable because she is so ordinary. She could be anyone’s sister, friend or girlfriend. In this particular case, she was wisely cast, because if the character were a supermodel, the movie wouldn’t be as disturbing, it would be predictable.
If you are the impatient type, Entrance is not going to work for you, but if you are a genre fan looking for something a little different it’s worth a watch. IFC Midnight is rolling out the film in limited theaters as well as VOD, and digital outlets (SundanceNOW, iTunes, Amazon Streaming, XBOX Zune, Playstation Unlimited) on May 18. Entrance was an official selection of the Los Angeles Film Festival. — Shannon