Absentia is a creepy and subtle horror flick that starts out like a traditional haunting movie and turns into quite something else. After her husband Daniel (Morgan Peter Brown) has been missing for 7 years, Tricia (Courtney Bell) is set to have him declared dead and then try to move on with her life. Joined by her troubled sister Callie (Katie Parker), Tricia is reluctantly ready to start moving forward again when she suddenly starts having hallucinations of her husband who seems to be quite angry about being declared dead and that his wife is now pregnant from an involvement with the police officer (Dave Levine) who was investigating the case. But those hallucinations are only the beginning of what seems to be a surreal nightmare that both sisters are at a loss to explain…though they may not like the explanation if they find it.
Absentia is a very effective low budget chiller from writer/director Mike Flanagan who not only crafts an interesting tale of missing people and what might happen to them, but also touches on the emotional struggle of those left behind. Flanagan maintains an atmosphere of dread and even cleverly leaves enough doubt in our minds to keep us on edge as to whether this is a product of denial and emotional distress, or is it really the work of something else…something supernatural.
To say anymore would ruin a really enjoyable and spooky low budget horror that is refreshingly back to basics and knows that sometimes less is more. Though, I would be remiss in not mentioning that Flanagan also gets some really down to earth and strong performances out of leading ladies Bell and Parker which really helps in giving the audience an emotional investment in what is transpiring, which aids in making this cool low budget film work. Mike Flanagan is a filmmaker to keep an eye on. Also starring Doug Jones (Hellboy series, Pan’s Labyrinth) in a small role.
3 solid spooked sisters!