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Absentia
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Reviews & Ratings for
Absentia More at IMDbPro »

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75 out of 99 people found the following review useful:

Very Good Low Budget Horror

9/10
Author: ronnybrown1982 from Spain
5 February 2012

If you come to this expecting something along the lines of Saw then you will be disappointed. It is a fairly slow moving, character driven, existential horror. That said, there are a good number of scares and tense, edge of your seat scenes.

It is well done - good cinematography, acting, soundtrack and story. Hopefully the director will continue the good work on his next film, from the decent way the characters were written and top notch direction (for what I guess was a small budget)this is a truly excellent movie.

Well done to all involved.

Highly recommended.

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87 out of 124 people found the following review useful:

A standout horror film

10/10
Author: tv2-194-495681 from Brisbane Australia
5 March 2012

I don't write reviews much, in fact, I haven't done so since David Lynch's Lost Highway back in the 90's but having just seen ABSENTIA I felt obligated to share my thoughts.

This is an amazing horror/thriller. I cannot fathom how a director working on a minuscule budget can produce a film of this quality. The writing, photography and direction are absolutely first-class. The film generates a remarkably claustrophobic atmosphere and the actors, albeit amateur give incredible and heartfelt performances.

The film tells the story of two sisters, Tricia (heavily pregnant) and the other, Callie who is returning from an extended trip. The main plot involves the disappearance of the Trisha's husband seven years prior. She is just starting to heal, working to declare him legally dead and looking towards the birth of her child. Then things change.

To give anything else away would be unforgivable, but let's just say that Tricia's husband is not the only person to go missing in the neighborhood in recent times. Don't worry about that statement...this is not some dopey, clichéd serial killer film, this is something completely different. It's a mystery. Is the husband dead or alive and what is the meaning of the unusual things that Callie begins to see inside the nearby freeway underpass ? The film is hard to classify into a specific genre. It's part horror, part thriller, part scifi and utterly engrossing.

If you enjoy thrillers give this film a go. Forget the fact that it was made on a dime.. every aspect of it from the story, acting right through to a wonderful soundtrack guarantees you will have a great time with it.

I'm hoping that the director, Mike Flanagan gets noticed in a big way as a result of Absentia and someone throws him a team and a budget. If he can make a film this good on a tiny budget I can only imagine what he could do with more money.

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69 out of 89 people found the following review useful:

Deeply Unsettling!

9/10
Author: PatrickTheRedMenace from United States
15 January 2012

This somber yet deeply unsettling film managed to give me the willies even in the less-than-ideal Horrorhound Weekend screening.

Not soon after a pregnant woman (Katie Parker) declares her missing husband (Morgan Peter Brown) legally dead, she begins to having terrifying visions that hint that maybe she spoke too quickly. Writer/director Flanagan pulls off an incredible feat with this film. He manages to reinvent the ghost story, then takes it to an unexpected, even creepier place.

Don't be fooled by the show-burn pacing, because the almost-suffocating tension had me squirming in my seat, forgetting to breathe.

It's been almost a year since I've seen ABSENTIA. What haunts me most is not the disturbing visuals or even the deeply unsettling story line. It's the mood. When I simply think about the title, I hear in my head its stark, two-note funeral organ score and my chest wells up with emotions not usually incurred by watching a horror movie: grief, loss and perhaps the most terrifying of all…the dread of inevitability.

Toss in a pitch perfect cast, including a heart-wrenching cameo from the always delicious Doug Jones, and BOOM! You've got my favorite horror movie of 2011.

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45 out of 60 people found the following review useful:

Slow and atmospheric creeper makes for a pretty impressive experience.

9/10
Author: BloedEnMelk from Netherlands
5 April 2012

I do not really understand why the average rate of Absentia is so low. Well, maybe I do understand, if you watch this horror with the expectations that you get a fast paced gore filled typical horror movie, you will be disappointed. Absentia is a slow one, and it basically has no real gore. So just skip it if that's what you are going for, and save this little gem the downrates which it really doesn't deserve.

Now, that having sad, Absentia has something different to offer. It's not per say in the storyline itself, which, when you read it, doesn't seem too original. What it's got to offer is mainly in the mood. The soundtrack, which is relatively minimum, really adds to the claustrophobic and depressing atmosphere. The acting is well done, realistic and believable, and the characters are well worked out and take the plot to a higher level. There are some weird things in the plot that make you wonder what is really going on. It gives the perfect sense of mystery, never fully explaining it, but definitely enough to leave you satisfied.

I found Absentia more of an experience, though it doesn't come short to the story at all. Things may or may not make sense, and you might wonder a couple of times how much comes to perception and how much of it is really happening, it doesn't take anything away from the story or from the mood. It only adds to it.

I was a bit reluctant when I put the DVD into my player but all my doubts faded away within the first minutes. The movie is perfectly shot, everything just works really really well. I am very pleasantly surprised and think it certainly belongs to one of the best horror movies of 2011.

The only bad thing I have to say about it is that a few times I found it hard to follow the dialogue (mumbling) and had to rewind to listen to it again.

Watch it if you get the chance, and if you like horror which crawls deeply under your skin. Do not watch it if you want action and gore.

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46 out of 68 people found the following review useful:

Well written, character driven story

9/10
Author: Hammond Chamberlain
4 February 2012

I had not been aware of this movie until I was given a pass to see it streaming on VOD. So, I was going in with no idea of what I was going to see. I was extremely pleased. The build and atmosphere that was created was great. I was impressed with the direction and the tight script. The women who play the main characters are great. The feeling of family history is created very well and early in the script. The way that everyone in the movie is finding their own ways of coping with the events in the movie shows the attention to the detail of each character and how they fit into the story and this world. I am very glad that I was able to see and I do want to see it again. SEE THIS Movie.

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35 out of 52 people found the following review useful:

Do Not be absent for this great horror flick: ABSENTIA

8/10
Author: klimari from United States
12 August 2011

Last night, with not much fare on cable, I decided to watch Absentia. A recent horror film by Mike Flanagan.

First off let me start by saying that horror is my favorite genre. Not your "slasher" flicks though… but well crafted Gothic horror like Robert Wise's original THE HAUNTING.

Creepy atmospheric films that get you thinking and make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

You can read the synopsis here on IMDb, so I won't go into that. As far as reviews go, Variety couldn't have said it any better! (http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117945387/)

The low budget only proves that a cool story, some nice direction, well paced editing and a more than capable cast don't need to come from a big Hollywood studio… and they rarely do these days!

At times the scares are so subtle (ala the cult classic B film, "Let's Scare Jessica to Death") you won't believe your own eyes. Is Daniel really there or a figment of his wife's (played brilliantly I might add by Courtney Bell) imagination?.

The real standout here though is Mike Flanagan, the writer/director.

I await his next project with great anticipation! 8 out of 10 stars!

PS-Notice some of the character references to some horror director icons. Carpenter, Del Toro, Romero... :)

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26 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

Eerie. Ingenious. Creepy. Brilliant.

9/10
Author: Greg (gregmoroberts@yahoo.com) from Oakville, Ontario
11 July 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Eerie. Ingenious. Creepy. Brilliant. Normally, we save these words for later in a review. That way we can bore our readers with details of a plot and any information on the actors or the characters they portrayed. But we were so taken by Mike Flanagan's Absentia that we needed to catch your attention right off the bat. Eerie. Ingenious. Creepy. Brilliant. Absentia opens with a mystery already afoot. Tricia's (Courtney Bell) husband has been missing for seven years and her rehabbed sister Callie (Katie Parker) has moved in with her at the same time the State is issuing a Death Certificate for the missing Daniel (Morgan Peter Brown). Tricia is pregnant and looking to finally put the seven years of grief and speculation as to what might have happened behind her when she begins to have visions of her husband - visions that are terrifying and downright spooky. With the encouragement of her sister Callie, Tricia goes on a date with an investigator on her husband's case. But she gets no further than a few steps from the house, when Daniel mysteriously appears on the street pale and disoriented. Questions abound. Where has he been? Was he molested or injured in any way? And who kept him and fed him all these years (stomach contents reveal a grotesque discovery)? Daniel is unable to either respond or unwilling to assist in the investigation. But it is clear he has been through a traumatic experience that left him almost dead. Meanwhile, Callie meets a strange and helpless man in a tunnel she uses as part of her jogging route. The man seems confused and surprised that Callie can see him. When Daniel miraculously returns after seven years, Callie begins to piece together a strange puzzle of disappearances in the area that include the man she saw in the tunnel the day earlier and others who have gone missing over the past 100 years. A frightening conversation with Daniel later reveals even more horrifying details. A story of a creature that lives in the walls that kidnaps and keeps its victims under the city is presented by Daniel just before he is again captured by the unknown entity. It is then up to Callie and Tricia to try and rationalize the events of the last 24-hours while struggling with the sanity of the situation that reveals itself to be supernatural. Absentia is one of those rare independent films that jumps out and grabs you. The performances by Parker and Bell hit the bull's-eye and it is their relationship that drives the first half of the film. Daniel's appearance takes Absentia in an unexpected direction and it is a direction full of incredible unseen possibilities with a few good jolts thrown in for good measure. There was rarely a hint of the usual 'I-knew-that-was-coming' that is so rampant in screeners' thought processes while watching a modern day thriller/horror. Every scene and every note brought the audience further down the rabbit hole and nothing was clear or easily spelled-out for a remedial or simpleton viewer. All the above makes Absentia one of the best horror films of the 2011 year. It was brilliantly acted while it methodically unfolded a complex story that leaves much to the imagination. In short, it was eerie, ingenious, creepy and brilliant.

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43 out of 73 people found the following review useful:

An important independent horror

8/10
Author: filmbizarro from Sweden
22 February 2011

After hearing our good friend James DePaolo over at CinemaHeadCheese.com giving this some damn good comments, I figured it would be something worth checking out. I've been in need of a good horror movie to really get into my head, and one from 2011 couldn't sound any better. "Absentia" is that movie. It's one of the movies I will remember 10 months from now when I start making my "Best of 2011" list. The year has just started, but if the past years have taught me anything, it is that great movies are rare.

The movie takes its time to explain the background story to you early in the movie by having our lead character, Tricia, put up missing person posters. Gradually from that, we also find out that he has been gone for 7 years. And then we have Callie, her sister. Callie moved away 5 years ago but has just gotten back in town and is gonna live with Tricia. Tricia has just accepted that her husband is actually gone and won't be coming back, when she all of the sudden starts seeing him everywhere. A therapist explains this to her by saying that it's her mind processing the acceptance. But when Callie is out jogging one day, she meets a strange man in a tunnel who she later finds out is another missing person. One of many in the neighborhood.

There is a lot going on in the movie, but it always takes the time to make sure you follow the events. Even though many things are unexplained and hard to grasp, it's so perfectly thought-out that you never feel cheated, instead you keep your mind working constantly to connect everything. And this is what makes the movie so great, there are so many levels of things. By the time the movie ended I couldn't even decide what I thought was going on in the movie, I literally had three different solutions to the whole film. Which one is the right one, I don't know. And I don't care, I love it this way.

It's a movie that works in the most simple of ways, and it never goes over-the-top. Unlike most supernatural / psychological horror movies out there this works strictly with the atmosphere, the story, the mood and the emotions, and it couldn't possibly do a better job. The actors are all terrific and they all help us sell this story.

If I had to be really picky about something it would have to be some of the jump scares. Not because they are jump scares (which we all know are cheap ways to scare), because they are carefully placed and all that, but the sound is often what sells them and here they weren't as effective as they could've been. But it gives the scares a more subtle tone which helps building the atmosphere yet again, so it's really a double-edged sword.

"Absentia" is an important movie, it shows what good thinking can do compared to good effects. It puts you into the misery of our characters and has you constantly trying to figure out what is really going on. There was not a second of this movie that I thought dragged on, even though things sometimes move slowly. There is nothing better than a slow movie that really has you hooked, because only then can it really get you to feel and care for the characters, and "Absentia" manages to do just that. A must see!

More reviews at FilmBizarro.com

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Mike Flanagan's first horror feature is an effective psychological thriller, packed with surprising moments, good performances and clever scares.

8/10
Author: Guillermo Bosque from Saltillo, México.
10 December 2014

Summary: Mike Flanagan's first horror feature is an effective psychological thriller, packed with surprising moments, good performances and clever scares. 80/100 (B+)

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 a great psychological horror film that will leave you guessing about what was real and what was not. It is a very well done low-budget flick, superbly acted, original and sinister.

Absentia is a strangely original movie. I really liked all of the psychological aspects of it. Flanagan surprises us with a bunch of unexpected scares, and some relentless drama. Also, the acting was quite good. The film does not feel hampered by its extremely low budget ($75,000 US), all of the scares have quality. It is impressive how well this film is directed. The performances were great, and I cared about the characters. If you are a horror fan you should not miss this hidden gem. It is amazing what Flanagan can do with a micro-budget. In spite of a kinda boring musical score, I still loved Absentia. It is one of the most thought-provoking horror films I have seen, it deals with a very moving story that is painfully sad. The ending leaves some questions, but it makes the film even more debatable. (B+)

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52 out of 98 people found the following review useful:

Awful, boring, absurd, and ridiculous

1/10
Author: ssolow from Russia
4 February 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

So much for watching films based on other reviewers reactions. I hoped this would be a good horror film because so many viewers seemed to like it. What I found was a ridiculous, slow paced, poorly acted, clichéd piece of junk.

What makes it worse is that it does hook you in at first with the expectation that the plot is going to make some sort of sense or that something worth waiting for is going to happen. What happens is that some giant insect living in the 4th dimension is hanging out in some damn tunnel and kidnapping people. It feeds them some animals but I guess there is no showers there because they have to wear the same clothes for years and years. Oh, and you can trade with the big spider insect thing. If you bring it a puppy or some watches or something it might give you back your loved one worse for the wear.

Horror film lovers are so desperate for entertainment that just because this film is not out of focus and has a minimum of suspense to sustain it they forgive the most banal acting and absurd premise. The horror really is in watching this film and feeling your life blood and precious time drain out of you.

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