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.
Super low budget horror with an original plot! I really quite enjoyed this!
A perfect example of why you ought not judge a film by its cover. This is far more "meditative psychological mystery" than "teen slasher."
The ever-present uncertainty in this film—its awareness of plausible alternative explanations to the narrative events; the justifiable skepticism—is one of its strongest points. This is clearly an important element of human existence to Flanagan, since it appears again in his second feature, Oculus (to even greater effect). Skepticism and evidence feature prominently in Flanagan's films; he directs almost like a social scientist.
Ultimately, the payoff to Absentia doesn't completely justify the investment—but relative to other low-budget indies, this surprised me. Oculus was an improvement on Absentia, and if Flanagan's next outing is even more refined, it will be a must-see.
"Absentia" is a welcome surprise: an intelligent indie horror film that keeps its focus and doesn't devolve into gimmicks. I really liked how naturally the story progressed with the creepy atmosphere slowly swallowing the characters. I'm now looking forward to Flanagan's new film "Oculus".
Still love it all these years later. Amazing film.
Absentia is low on fear but delivers on mystery. It takes its time to reveal some secrets but in a good way. This low budget film knows how to make the best use of what it's got. The writing and acting are a plus
At home streaming.
Four stars is perhaps generous but I'm grading on a curve given its budget. Some genuinely spooky moments and a great, very believable, central relationship between the two leads. Doesn't end entirely satisfactorily but they more or less earned it.
More than just an indie horror film, it's a somber struggle with loss augmented by the understatement of its writing, the inhabited belief of its two central performances, and by the deft direction of plot turns that revolve around a wide open abyss of ambiguity.
There are some redeeming features: an interesting premise, it passes the Bechdel test, it's not a bag of clichés... but it does look every penny of the $70k it cost to make. There's more potential than is realised, but there's nothing to actively dislike.
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