Friends often ask me to recommend indie horror films on Netflix Instant. (American Netflix, sorry!) Now I can just send…
There are fates worse than death.
Tricia's husband Daniel 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, it becomes clear that Daniel's presumed death might be anything but 'natural.' The ancient force at work in the tunnel might have set its sights on Callie and Tricia ... and Daniel might be suffering a fate far worse than death in its grasp.
Absentia is absolutely brilliant, I don't throw that word around lightly either. This isn't one of those films where I had to look past a few flaws to enjoy it. Absentia was an experience I won't forget; taking me from the extreme depths of fear to tears streaming down my cheeks in sympathy.
People often complain about kickstarter films but this just goes to show the importance of a well-written story and the dismissal of audience expectations, where artist integrity reigns supreme. Sure, there was a budget of $70,000 but Absentia didn't need a large budget to convey the atmosphere it provided and with that we keep the filmmaker's vision in tact, no interference with producers or production companies who…
There is the kernel of a great horror film buried within Absentia but in its finished form I found Mike Flanagan’s Kickstarter-funded movie a frustrating experience. To its credit it does have a refreshing premise and as a film it is not easy to pin down (it’s part suburban supernatural horror and part psychological thriller) but the overall results are rather disappointing, particularly in its handling of its more horrific elements.
Mike Flanagan (director of the well received Oculus) has created an ambiguous chiller steeped in suburban isolation and folklore. A pregnant woman is visited by her wayward sister as she is about to sign the in absentia death papers for her husband who mysteriously disappeared seven years ago. However,…
What a fantastic surprise.
Right from the start this movie had me hooked by featuring a cast of actors that simply seemed to be normal people. It is hard to sympathize or identify with the usual dumb-as-bricks bimbos populating your run-of-the-mill slasher flicks, but these guys had me invested right from the start. Add a very intriguing story line, an emphasis on atmosphere and a foreboding sense of dread and danger that Lovecraft and Barker would be proud of and you have yourself one hell of a creepfest.
Just don't let the cover art fool you: This has a lot to offer if you are into a more classic kind of horror and are sick of the ever repeating cycle of slasher mass production.
This film has many problems, of which the biggest lie within the narrative, but I was still rather enamored by it.
I think it has mainly to do with the fact that it focusses on atmosheric horror instead of trying for the cheap scares. And considering the small budget they had they admirably manage to evoke a sense of unease and some genuinely frightening imagery.
There is, unfortunately, far too much static in the narrative to keep the momentum going. We do get characters we care about, which is a nice change.
All in all, a worthy entry in the horror genre.
"Absentia" is an independent horror film whose micro-budget veneer may scare away some audiences. For those willing to penetrate that veneer, however, the film is a gem. Slowly engrossing, "Absentia" is more about subtle scares and trying to peer into the darkness than visceral frights and gore. It is a rich and thematically layered, unpolished find that deserves an audience.
Almost fatally low budget and rough around the edges, it's saved on the merit of Mike Flanagan being a Goddamn good director. And clearly not afraid of dark endings. Oculus showed what he could do with a higher budget. I can't wait to see what he does with an even higher one.
Decent low-budget film starts out as psychological mood piece about a wife about to declare her husband, missing for 7 years, dead. Then when he returns as a kind of zombie-like creature, it becomes horror/fantasy. Some good acting by the women, some less good acting by the men, and a somewhat incoherently shot ending, but a good Friday night pick.
A droll exercise in mind numbing who cares. A man has disappeared. A woman comes to her sister to help out and what follows is an hour and a half of ghost and no explanation of what is going on. Not that there could be any, cause there really is no answers cause nothing is going on. A bypass under a bridge makes people disappear. OK. Why? And climax at the end? Good grief. There wasn't any. I want my time back.
Low-budget chiller from the director of Oculus, that's more about the uncertainty of grief and loss than frights, but goes nowhere.
Mike Flanagan's Kickstarter movie. It does many things right, not despite the budget but because of it: natural lightning works well, giving an air of found footage without the need for this obnoxious conceit; not showing the creature is often preferable even when the budget would allow for more; the focus on sound (more could have been done with it, imo). The script is not exceptional, but it's far from the worst I've seen in horror movies.
Several elements that make an appearance in "Oculus": family dissolution, ambiguity of horror as the delusion of a traumatized mind, explicit psychological analysis of it as such, the "believer" character reading a history of suspicious events to the "unbeliever", the final shot, the…
Absentia is proof that you don't need a high budget to make a good film, or in this case, a horror film. The sense of dread is created at an expert level, that frankly, is rare to see today in any horror film, no matter the budget. Never dull, decent enough acting, a compelling original story, and a very creepy atmosphere help mold this low-budget horror gem into a fantastic piece of work.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Once again, Jeremy Doan tossed this suggestion to me and gave it the rather high rating of "the high end of good" which is high praise in the epitome of understatement that is the Doan review system.
I am not quite sure I would hold it as high as he did, because the production values kept pulling me out from the film overall. That isn't to say that I didn't think they used the money they had efficiently or that the concept of the film was bad because neither of those are true, but I would say that, given more money, the concept and production could have been better realized. The best parts of the film were the small creature…
Part of 2014's 31 Nights of Horror!
A pregnant woman and her sister investigating the recent disappearance of her husband find that a local tunnel may hold the key. While dark tunnels are often sketchy, this one in particular has something extra going on within it and the women are going to find out just what that is in Absentia.
Director Mike Flanagan’s movie is not very polished. The acting is not too great, though not horribly bad. The script needs much work, and it seems as though a lot of dialogue is even improved. The sound mastering changes from scene to scene and is often echoey. The cinematography is often bland and uninteresting. Although some lighting effects…
This was certainly a little gem. Although it's micro budget shows in the camerawork, it's made up for in spades by the ingenuity. And everything else...
This was a big surprise. I resigned myself to an average-to-awful low budget horror chasing jump-scares in the Paranormal Activity tradition, but instead found something a lot more melancholy.
Unfortunately, the movie isn't that scary, but it doesn't seem to be interested in that so much - but rather the effect missing loved-ones has on their relatives, and the narratives created to understand the indecipherable.
We're about half way through the Underrated Series and have finally reached one of the big genres. I'm expecting lots…
I must confess, I wouldn’t be as much of a movie fan as I am now if it weren’t for…