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Absentia (2012)

My Rating

Movie Info

Tricia's husband has been missing for seven years. Her younger sister Callie comes to live with her as the pressure mounts to finally declare him 'dead in absentia.' As Tricia sifts through the wreckage and tries to move on with her life, Callie finds herself drawn to an ominous tunnel near the house. As she begins to link it to other mysterious disappearances, she comes to the realization that his presumed death might be anything but 'natural.' Soon it becomes clear that the ghostly force at

R,

Horror

Mike Flanagan

Mar 13, 2012

Phase 4 Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (4) | Fresh (3) | Rotten (1) | DVD (1)

An instant indie horror gem...

September 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

don't overlook this hidden gem, elevated by the great subtlety of its writing, the lived-in conviction of its two central performances, and by Flanagan's careful handling of narrative twists and turns that pivot around a gaping chasm of ambiguity.

June 14, 2012 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

weighted down with the trappings of microbudget filmmaking

April 18, 2012 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

A melancholy tale of loss that's only peripherally a horror flick, but a good one all the same.

March 11, 2012 Full Review Source: FEARnet | Comment (1)
FEARnet

Audience Reviews for Absentia

three stars!!
August 23, 2012
YodaMasterJedi
MisterYoda ?

Super Reviewer

A pretty good horror flick!
July 16, 2012
Jacob Palacio

Super Reviewer

** out of ****

I definitely dig independent horror. I like seeing smaller directors as they start out and attempt to get their name out there and remembered. Horror fans make up a loyal fan base, and if you happen to impress them, they will remember your name. However, if you make something that's completely forgettable and leaves little an impact on anybody who views the project in full; you will be forgotten. The latter pretty much sums up how I feel about "Absentia" and how I also believe it will vanish into obscurity. You know what...it already has. I've read reviews that are generally mixed; some really liked it, some kind of did, others like me were left kind of puzzled and disappointed, yet not quite angry with the material. Made to look like a horror film if only on the outside, " Absentia" focuses on a more dramatic narrative to drive its story, but unfortunately it fails to make its story compelling enough to the point where you would want to invest in it. I'm all for horror-dramas, they can work when done right, but fearless writing would have helped this film be what it aspires to be; something great, mysterious, and scary.

There really isn't much to say about it. "Absentia" is about a woman named Tricia whose husband has been missing for seven years. She still insists on putting ads up around town, even though his whereabouts are unknown. The police wish to declare the husband, named Daniel, dead in absentia. Obviously, this puts a lot of emotional pressure on Tricia; and so her sister Callie, a recovering drug addict, comes to live with her for a while to keep her company, or something like that. Both women are drawn to an ominous tunnel that basically lies just across the street from Tricia's house. When Callie goes on a run, she sees a dying and bloodied man just lying there on the ground in the middle of the tunnel, asking for an item to "trade"; and instantly, we're asking the same questions that she is. What is the tunnel's history? And why does the town have such a high rate of missing persons? Are the two linked in some way?

Unfortunately, the film has all the questions but few of the answers. Half way through, Daniel returns from, well, wherever he was. He looks as if he's been living on the streets all this time, and his face is white as a sheet, almost as if he's seen a ghost. It doesn't look like he will ever recover from the traumatic experiences that he had while gone. His return signifies an intriguing turning point for the story, in which the horror elements come into full effect (before that, the only things that could be considered moderately "scary" are the dream sequences of Tricia, in which there are some truly pathetic attempts to scare the audience through bad CGI demon wide-mouths). I wanted the movie to do something more with the awesome ideas that it had (it deals with themes of the paranormal, life and death, and the philosophical implications that come with all three), but alas, it wants to have a logical explanation for everything but at the same time be ambiguous. It pretty much fails to deliver in both departments.

But the film itself is not a failure. It's an indie film, so I've got to cut it some slack. I won't dismiss it from the criticism that it rightfully deserves for being as mediocre as it is, but I will sympathize as much as I can. The image quality of the video is pretty darn impressive for something so low budget, and the cinematography is certainly inspired. Out of the entire film, the lone shots of the empty tunnel are the most atmospheric and effective. Also, the music - while repetitive - is damn creepy at times. So the writer-director-editor, Mike Flanagan, is able to do more than most filmmakers working in the horror genre today even if he has so little to work with in the first place. He shows signs of potential, as a director who might one day deliver a good "mood" or "suspense" flick sometime in the near future. But "Absentia" is "Absentia". And "Absentia" is an unimpressive misfire with dull and misleading DVD cover art, and even then, that's just the beginning of its problems.
May 10, 2012
Ryan M
Ryan Marshall

Super Reviewer

Effectively terrifying, Absentia reinstates the classic horror elements that first made me fall in love with the genre. Despite its independent nature, there is nothing low budget about this film. Whereas most independent features are noticeably lacking or deeply flawed in certain (or all) areas, Absentia delivers a well-rounded experience, providing in-depth make-up, eerie natural locations, an exceptional sound design, and an incredible cast, who find a balance between portraying everyday life and experiencing the unbelievable. Absentia's plot avoids the obvious and keeps the viewer guessing, coming off lyrical with its well-placed surprises and reveals. There is a pleasure that comes with witnessing a success like Absentia, in that it lives outside the constraints of some of the more high profile garbage horror that tends to churn out, and instead reveals a labor of passion that plain and simply works.
March 28, 2012
xas5

Super Reviewer

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