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.
Surprisingly scary. I had legit goosebumps at multiple points during this one. I was a little disappointed when they revealed exactly what was going on, but as it progressed, I began to really warm up to it. It's slow, yeah, but it's also really fricking creepy and the ending is superb.
*Watched with Alex Leonardis*
VERDICT: Despite a budget which at times strains the film from achieving true cinematic brilliance, this is an immensely atmospheric and emotionally effective horror that relies on calculated scares and genuine characters to tell its story. This comes highly recommended.
*Watched with Harry Fuertes*
This is how you do a low budget horror. While it's budget shows, the ambition and how far it went is impeccable. I continue to be impressed with how Mike Flanagan crafts his stories and the characters in them. He cares for them immensely yet he tortures the shit out of them.
One of those films where the poster is actually more exciting.
I'm not saying it's shit, but I found it to be fairly tedious, and I was half tempted to check my phone for messages at various points during it.
There was nothing really original, nothing scary and all in all it was unsatisfactory.
On the plus side, the two lead performances were very good and the overall idea could have worked if it was half the length.
Probably would have made a good 'short' in a Creepshow style film.
After watching the surprisingly effective Oculus, I wanted to seek out other works the director has been involved in. I found this movie to be pretty interesting, although not scary per se. It definitely feels more like a low budget indie film, but based on the remarkably terrible cover art, I was expecting something more low budget exploitation-style, and instead I found that it had a very thoughtful narrative-driven and character-driven story. Well worth watching.
Also, if you've watched Oculus: pay close attention to some of the set details, you might find something very familiar in the background. :-)
I'm surprised, I really enjoyed it. It feels exactly like a urban legend, with a really slow pace and an open ending. It takes you by the hand but leaves you in a dark corner with all of your questions and in the end, you just have this eerie feel and no answers at all. A really atmospheric movie, not much about horror, but more about grief and loss.
“I smell like an armpit’s asshole.”
A young woman, dealing with the disappearance of her husband is haunted by his ghost apparently while she continues to live in their flat opposite the spooky looking underpass. For the most part this is shocking only in the level of its dullness, and by the denouement just delves into ridiculousness. Not particularly diverting, let alone scary.
Not great (or scary), but plot development was surprising enough. (2.75 stars)
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