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Absentia
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Absentia More at IMDbPro »

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4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Absentia is a hidden gem

10/10
Author: Argemaluco from Argentina
5 July 2012

Absentia is a magnificent horror film, because of its extraordinary screenplay, excellent performances and perfect direction. In summary: a hidden gem which deserves to be discovered not only by the fans of the horror genre, but also by any lover of cinema.

Like in the best horror films, the screenplay from Absentia is fascinating even before incorporating the supernatural elements. Actress Courtney Bell transmits her character's internal conflict between her loyalty to her missing husband and the promise to start a new life with a touching realism. Katie Parker also brings a perfect work as her sister, who has a dark past. And I think that Dave Levine is also worthy of applause as Detective Mallory. Director and screenwriter Mike Flanagan built the movie with elegance and subtleness, revealing the factors of the drama while we are finding out the characters' nature. The screenplay is developed organically, without any dramatic formulas nor narrative short cuts.

And then we have the delicious twists from the screenplay, which gets increasingly disturbing as we find out certain additional details, with which we can start creating our own hypothesis about the main mystery. When the film finally gets into the horror field, Flanagan keeps the same discipline, offering us moments of a perfect suspense but without revealing too much, something which keeps the tension and the interest until the film's last frame. And the fact that Absentia achieved all this with a minimum budget makes it even more admirable.

I definitely have huge interest in watching Flanagan's next films, with the hope of finding out that Absentia wasn't a product of chance, but of huge talent and genuine artistic vision. So, in conclusion, I give Absentia a very enthusiastic recommendation as one of the best films I have seen in recent years.

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5 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Very, Very Boring with a Few Good Moments

Author: robocopfansliveforever from United States
4 April 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I really liked the premise of this movie. The idea of all these different people disappearing from the same spot because something took them has so much potential. I got that setup from the trailer, but unfortunately, the movie takes forever to reach that point, which puts you so far ahead of the film. That might be OK if you cared about the characters and liked them, if the story pulled you in before that, but it didn't, and I found the two sisters to be very tedious.

I didn't think either girl was sympathetic or interesting. You'd imagine Tricia would be since she lost her husband and has no idea where he went. She is the better actress of the two, but I still didn't feel for her. Maybe it's because I didn't get any real sense of the relationship she had with her husband. Although her acting was natural, she didn't feel like a real person. It probably didn't help that she was pregnant when her husband had been missing for so long and yet there was no guy around so then it seems like she just slept with some random stranger. Of course, you find out differently very soon. But the nightmares/hallucinations of her dead husband always standing around got old real quick, and none of those were scary. The monster/killer/ghost standing in the background behind a victim has been overdone to death. There is an outstanding incredible payoff for this, but it takes a long time to get to it. The beginning of the film just feels like it goes on and on forever. They show Callie out running several times. They could've cut that a lot shorter. But one of the main problems is you don't have a reason to care, because nothing is at stake. Not until you get past act one.

As for Callie, the other sister, there wasn't anything to latch onto there either. It didn't help that the actress playing her just seemed like she was acting the entire time. She never seemed believable. Her character is one I've seen countless times... the "recovered" drug addict. All that did was make for an annoying reason why no one believed her later on and why the movie can't move past its initial premise or really develop it further.

Big spoiler alert.

Daniel, the missing husband, is the most interesting of all the characters. When he's on screen, you're fascinated. The movie needed to get to him a lot faster or go more into Walter Lambert (Doug Jones, the amazing Abe Sapien), the other missing character, but really Daniel should've been the main character. The wife, the way she's written and acted, is just not very interesting especially next to Daniel and what happened to him. They say conflict is the heart of a story. Tricia just doesn't have that much conflict. She still puts up fliers for her dead husband and she's not quite ready to move on (even though she got pregnant, which is contradictory), but that's not nearly enough conflict to hang the first act of a movie on, and the hallucination of her dead husband doesn't cut it. As a guy who watches tons and tons of horror films, I've seen that stuff before, and the way they executed it here was not frightening. It could've been, but they didn't pull it off. Skew, another indie low budget horror film I watched recently, does a much, much better job of scaring you. It also has a slow build (so slow I almost turned it off), but when that first scare hits, it gets you. The beginning of Absentia is not scary at all unless you've never seen a horror film before. The idea of something taking people and all these people missing from the same spot is a scary idea, but the movie doesn't do much with it.

I guess maybe the filmmaker thought the mystery of the missing husband would be enough to draw the audience in. But I saw the trailer, and I know something took him. I want to know more about that. Even the basic premise on the back of the DVD tells you that something unnatural happened so let's get to that already. As soon as the film gets really interesting with Daniel, he's gone again, and you get the standard horror cliché of no one believing the one witness. It's just annoying, because the audience knows the truth so you just want the other characters to catch up and stop being idiots.

I was really surprised the movie refrains from gore throughout almost the whole duration, and then right near the end, it tosses out a dead fetus. I think that's just bad taste and shocking to be shocking, which doesn't shock me since far too many horror films lately have involved bloody fetuses. It's just silly. And the ending is shown on the ridiculously-photoshopped, cheap-looking DVD cover, which I'm sure turns away a ton of people. I bought the movie based on the trailer, the awards, and all the rave reviews. The DVD cover would've made sure I didn't buy it, because it looks awful like a silly SyFy movie or something. But either way, I was really disappointed with the film. You don't get any answers to your questions really. They have some neat ideas like that of trading and the creature being underneath everything, feeding people animals, etc. but there is a lot of really, really boring stuff to wade through. I've seen tons of deliberately-paced movies so I don't expect explosions every 10 seconds or anything like that, but you need to have stakes, characters you care about, etc. It shouldn't take so long to get to Daniel or the real story of the movie.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Absolute garbage!

1/10
Author: jassiswag
1 December 2015

I'm sorry but I can not wrap my head around it that there are people out there who actually enjoyed this movie. I have watched a lot of horror movies and have encountered quite some bad ones and this is one of the worst I've seen. The extremely annoying music with the bad acting and god awful story line mix together to make one of the most boring horror movies out there. Two sisters near a tunnel where people are going missing, mixed with awful camera work... There's not much more you need to know about this. If you in any way value your time, do yourself a favor and avoid this movie. If I could give a negative rating, I would.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A great understated cop sci-fi flick.

8/10
Author: grossehannes from New Hampshire
12 May 2015

Great little flick.

As a retired LA cop I found the police activities understated and accurate, as were the uniforms. Usually in these lower budget jobs the uniforms are often fouled up with the badges on the wrong side of the blouse, name tags below the badge. Here it was done right, so someone had a good eye for outfits and procedures.

The movie itself was understated and well done with the music adding to the mood, not blaring over the words or the effects.

The cinematography was superb, not glaring, nor too weak. Just right.

I give it an 8.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Wasn't even frightened once during this movie

4/10
Author: brandona from Missouri, USA
21 March 2015

Absentia is a mildly creepy, slow-paced paranormal mystery movie. The direction and acting are quite good, the writing is average, but overall the plot is weak and it never really delivers a truly terrifying scene.

You can't really call this a horror flick. If you've seen a lot of horror movies, this won't even faze you. Not even once, not even a little bit. It's basically a creepy story for those who aren't into true horror flicks.

Also I wish I'd have found out in advance that this movie is rated R solely for foul language, the creepy content does not even go into PG- 13 territory, and FYI there is NO gore and NO nudity.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Absentia aka There's not always light at the end of the tunnel

Author: MauveMouse
24 February 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I used to be more dismissive towards low budget modern horror, in fact more dismissive towards a big amount of modern horror, low budget or not, but I grew to be tolerant and give the films chances, and let them settle before the usual spontaneous ranting I used to ''perform'' against them. Maybe I've lowered my standards or who knows maybe I am becoming wiser, but I do know that I tend to gain more on a personal level by not being as aggressively critical as I used to. So, despite immediately feeling the temptation to catapult Absentia to the bottom of the ocean to be swallowed by a pit and melted into lava and if possible sucked into the burning hell from the core of the Earth, I decided not to think too much of the film that way and let the things I appreciated about it gently float to the surface. Any film that stuffs its first half hour with a bunch of cheap annoying jump scares using a ghostly presence with muddy eyes and mouth would not usually rate high in my book, but leaving that part aside, Absentia manages to create an atmosphere of doom by taking advantage of the location, that tunnel mouth works well in the favor of the film, and it kind of grows throughout the movie as a dark character of its own. I had the sensation while watching that the characters were somewhere on the edge of a map, and beyond that lied the void in which the creature dwelt. And speaking monsters, this is one intriguing one, I was not bothered by it not being fully introduced to the viewer, glimpses of its insectoid features are enough to intrigue and challenge your own mind into completing the rest. It was all due to low budget, no doubt about that, but I am glad they didn't fall into the trap of fully delivering a mockery of a CGI monster and instead opted for teasing with only shades and curves of its ferocious appearance. There's not too much to say about the acting because there isn't much display of it, the characters are trying but deliver not even half of the real deal, and that gives some tones of silly awkwardness to the film. Overall, despite lots of flaws, the horror tale manages to keep itself in good steady balance and to leave a solid impression of a dark little corner at the end of a street (could be any street anywhere) used as a nest and playground by a terrifying underground creature which happens to enjoy hunting, kidnapping humans and torturing them in its den

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Really Good movie. But....

7/10
Author: rpjackson2 from United States
15 May 2013

The budget to film this movie was funded via kickstart. Which is a crowdfunding site. With that said, it was a low budget film.

However, If I never told you that -- you would never know.

the directing, actors, quality, script etc,etc..were all very well done.

It was a ton of fun and it just goes to show that "curiosity" alone can carry a film because i stayed curious as to find out "what was going to happen next."

The only downfall was the ending -- I cant tell you why i feel that way without giving away the movie...so you'll just have to watch (i just used curiosity on you haha).

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Helping cool kids pick cool movies

8/10
Author: terryldactyl from United States
13 April 2013

What a dope movie! Hella eerie the entire time. The soundtrack is so way creepy and some movie nerds might even consider it a character. Very similar use of music as that of Requiem for a Dream. O man the very ending is so shockingly awesome. Nothing really jump out thrills but all around very horror suspenseful. I now get some thrills in public by asking people if they can see me. Its hard to tell if its real or not, much like most stories about awesome torture daemons. See it yo! With the lights off!

"Boring damned people. All over the earth. Propagating more boring damned people. What a horror show. The earth swarmed with them." ― Charles Bukowski

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Interesting Story and a mixed bag of actors

5/10
Author: Alex Fernandez from North America
14 March 2013

The storyline here is interesting and the way the movie plays out keeps things interesting until the end. The acting performances by Courtney Bell (the pregnant woman) and Dave Levine (the detective who got her pregnant) are absolutely wooden and painful to watch and in stark contrast that to the performance given by Katie Parker who plays Callie, the pregnant girls sister.

Parker holds this movie up. Without her performance the movie would be too painful to watch.

The scare scenes are pretty decent too. Enough to get a spine-tingling jump or two out of most people.

If you focus on those good parts and try to look past the awful performances by the supporting cast, then you might find it worth your while.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Imaginative and near-perfectly done Psychological Horror.

8/10
Author: y-t-d-lam from New Zealand
22 November 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Absentia was the first film to genuinely have me blocking my ears and holding my hands to my face in fear in over a year.

Despite its low budget of $70,000, Director Mike Flanagan and the crew clearly were able to find ingenious and imaginative ways around this; in fact it is quite amazing that a film of such quality was accomplished with the funds available, just considering the non-creative, physical factors like setting and special effects.

I will admit there are a few negligible moments of awkwardness owing, in my guess, to some over-improvisation by the actors and by the special effects. Nonetheless, the improvisation (and if not improvisation, some amazingly good writing) was done to near perfection.

What really impressed me (and frightened me) was the mood of the film and how real it feels. Both music and filming technique were the main benefactors to this. One feels as if this is a real situation, something happening in the real world, somewhere.

On a final note, there is a rather significant aspect of this film which deviated from usual knockabout psychological horror, and this truly set the mark for me. I cannot elaborate, for it may spoil too much of the film and the frights for viewers. In the vaguest terms possible I will try to explain: this film not only focuses on suspense and surprise but induces fear also through the unnatural amalgamation of disturbing images and things into the characters' perspectives. Several scenes do this, and one scene in particular impressed me very much. It induced fear through continuous perturbation in some scenes, and this I believe is one of the most effective techniques in horror, and one of the best to emulate real physical fear.

Absentia most definitely marks a place in horror history for me, as a film which comes up through financial shortcomings to invite a fresh and innovative combination that not only draws viewers into its fear, but imprints its horror onto the real world.

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