Directors: Dallas Hallam and Patrick Horvath
Starring: Suziey Block, Karen Gorham, Karen Baird, Joshua Grote, Florence Hartigan, Bennett Jones
Co-directed by Dallas Hallam and Patrick Horvath, “Entrance” is a deliberately paced indie offering that bills itself as a psychological thriller but in actuality is a fairly aimless tone piece about twentysomething emotional dislocation that only in its final reel leaps somewhat clumsily into genre-oriented skirmish and combat. As a showcase for narrative restraint and a non-forced lead performance by newcomer Suziey Block, the movie works on a theoretical level, but its grip is a bit too slack and its payoff too pointless to really recommend it.
The story centers around Suzy (Block), a young Los Angeles woman who can’t quite locate happiness. She lives with her dog and a roommate, and works as a barista, but still seems plagued by a fog of unhappiness. She dates a bit, but doesn’t have a fulfilling romantic relationship. When her dog disappears and she starts hearing strange noises, Suzy begins to feel like there’s a menace lingering just outside her field of vision. After she makes the decision to leave L.A. and move back home, her friends decide to throw Suzy a going-away dinner party.
“Entrance” aims for a sort of free-floating menace of the same sort that movies like “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” “Sound of My Voice” and even the Duplass brothers’ “Baghead” plumbed, but it chiefly misses the mark. The film’s mise en scene is interesting and impressive, especially for the budget on which it is achieved. The problem is that there’s just not enough “there” there; employing a sort of pedestrian parallelism, along with a minor allergy to dialogue, “Entrance” stretches minute shifts in everyday humdrum events past the point of intrigue, and into tedium.
“Entrance” played last year at the Los Angeles Film Festival, which is really the most accommodating type of venue for this sort of navel-gazing mood piece, a brand of carefully observed but precious indie filmmaking that I call “Silverlake cinema,” for the arts-friendly SoCal enclave from which it so frequently springs. Block is mostly solid, until the film’s finale nudges her away from naturalism and into a state of heightened emotion. Hallam and Horvath have a nice filmic calling card here, at least visually speaking. Their story instincts need a bit more fine-tuning, however.
Written by: Brent Simon