Friday Night Movie Recommendation: Absentia

Friday Night Movie Recommendation: Absentia

I saw this movie for the first time last summer and it’s a top notch, low budget, indie horror flick. And it’s on Netflix! You have no excuse. Go watch it now or tonight, or as soon as you have 91 minutes.

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I have to admit that I was biased because of my never ending love for Doug Jones, who I instantly noticed was listed as one of the actors in the film. That being said, I had relatively low expectations. There’s only so much Doug Jones can do. This movie had the worst cover photo on Netflix. I was sure it was going to be another in a slew of horrible horror movies that I’d been subjecting myself to. I was wrong, and gladly so.

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Who chose this picture? It doesn’t do the movie any justice.

The premise here is that a woman named Tricia (Courtney Bell) has finally decided to end the search for her husband, Daniel, who went missing seven years earlier (she kept looking, going door to door and putting out flyers for seven years! That’s dedication). After a certain amount of time you need closure, and Tricia’s sister, Callie (Katie Parker), who is a recovering addict, has come to help her go through the process. Tricia starts having nightmarish visions of Daniel during the most mundane activities and it only gets more bizarre from there.

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As I mentioned before, Doug Jones is my idol. He really is the most talented physical actor of all time. His physical movement abilities weren’t really put to the test in this movie (until a scene near the end – that was impressive) but he’s still incredible. He’s Pan and the Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth, Abe in the Hellboy movies, and Billy in Hocus Pocus! I rest my case. Bias makes sense now, doesn’t it?

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Did I mention that I love Doug Jones?

The atmosphere that’s created with the effective use of sound and silence is genuinely creepy. The constant hum in the background and the repetitive sounds create an air of suspense and are put to the best possible use throughout this film.  I love it when movies have pretty much no budget to speak of and can still generate a tense atmosphere and real scares.  There are so many horror movies with multi million dollar budgets that are filled with clichés and cheap scares.  That’s the mark of truly talented filmmaker; being able to create something from nothing.  Writer/director Mike Flanagan is a brilliant storyteller in that regard.  The scenes with Tricia’s visions of Daniel could have been so incredibly hokey but they were surprisingly sinister and gave me chills. The scene at 35:41 made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. It’s these subtle scenes and the general ambiguity of the plot that have the maximum impact.

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The strong writing style carried the film.  “I wish you didn’t trade with it. It fixates.” I just reviewed It Follows (which is AMAZING) and I have to say that I’m loving the “It” characters. The ambiguity and sinister nature of “It” reaches into a deep rooted fear of the unknown. A fear of not knowing what is out there, when our time’s up and what other truths there are that we can’t understand. “It” is the scariest thing that we can imagine.

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Overall, this movie went straight to DVD and had next to no budget; yet it still has the chops to go up against big blockbusters. It harnesses our fear of the unknown and keeps us questioning what’s really happening right up until the end. Watch it.

Check out the trailer here:

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30 thoughts on “Friday Night Movie Recommendation: Absentia

  1. I just reviewed Pan’s Labyrinth and this man, Doug Jones, is insanely talented. Oh my god, the faun and the pale man are two genius characters. I really love the way you review and this one sounds like a must!!! I’ll make sure to check it out online 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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