Absentia Mike Flanagan

Absentia Mike Flanagan
Director Mike Flanagan's low-budget horror indie, Absentia, has been a film festival darling for the past two years and has finally made its way to the small screen, hopefully to haunt unsuspecting viewers. Besides a cameo appearance from horror film character actor Doug Jones, the cast is primarily unknown and, surprisingly, this doesn't hurt the film's integrity, despite the fact it has straight-to-DVD written all over it. The film follows two sisters, Tricia (Courtney Bell) and Callie (Katie Parker), in a small and seemingly pleasant neighbourhood in California. Callie, who has been battling substance addiction, decides to visit her very pregnant sister, Tricia, to help her out. After Tricia confides in Callie, telling her that she's legally declaring husband Daniel (who vanished without a trace seven years ago) dead by absentia, strange and unexplained occurrences begin occurring in Tricia's home and neighbourhood. Her neighbours' pets start mysteriously going missing, baffling paranormal activity occurs and a bloodied-up man in a nearby tunnel conveniently pops out of nowhere. However, when Tricia's supposedly, and nearly, dead husband comes returns after seven years, the sisters can no longer deny that there's a supernatural entity attacking them and everybody around them. Any horror fan expecting to see revealing shots of gore and villainous creatures will be sorely disappointed, as the film is primarily focused on getting under your skin rather than answering any questions. Although Absentia succeeds in providing a dense and foreboding atmosphere, it fails in giving the audience a satisfying payoff. The special features are fairly entertaining, including two separate commentary tracks from the cast and crew and a jam-packed behind-the-scenes documentary that will make viewers feel less critical about the film's jarring flaws. (Phase 4)