#139 -- "A" Challenge: Absentia (2011)

Director: Mike Flanagan
Rating: 4/5

I was mostly interested in the cover of this movie. The synopsis was vague and uninteresting, but the cover intrigued me. So, I checked it out. All we know from the synopsis is that Tricia's husband Daniel went missing seven years ago, and that after finally declaring him dead in absentia, starts to think maybe something supernatural was going on. This isn't true, though. Tricia simply thought that Daniel left her at first. Tricia kept having horrible hallucinations of Daniel, and he was angry at her, because she became pregnant by the detective working his case. That, or he was angry because she was declaring him dead. Her therapist said that it was simply guilt on her part, and that finally admitting that her husband was dead was messing with her mind. Her sister, Callie, showed up to live with her, after having been on the road apparently going to several rehabilitation clinics. She kicked her drug habit (or so everyone thought), and she was hoping to help her sister through the terrible mess. When Tricia finally decided to move on for good, she set up a date with the Detective. They didn't get very far, though, before Daniel showed up again. He was sick: showing signs of malnourishment and dehydration. He also seemed to have lost his mind a little bit. While Tricia was out with the Detective, explaining to him that their relationship could not continue, Daniel confided in Callie about where he'd been. He'd only called it the "Underneath." There was some sort of creature (like a giant insect) that lived in the walls of a nearby tunnel. It kidnapped people and took them to the tunnel with it. Sometimes people were able to escape (like Walter, a man Callie met in the tunnel, who was shocked that she could see him, just as Daniel was when he first returned). Daniel said that the thing was in the walls of his bedroom and that it was going to get him. Callie went to investigate and was knocked unconscious by the creature, and awakened to witness Daniel being drug back into the tunnel. She tried to save him, but it was no good. She notified the detectives but, finding the drugs in her room, brushed it off as an acid trip. Tricia thought that Daniel had found out about her relationship with the detective (he was already upset by her pregnancy), and had left her again. So, it was really Callie that suspected supernatural activity; not Tricia.

Callie did some research and found out that a ton of people disappeared from that neighborhood, all around the area of the tunnel. People had been disappearing there for around a hundred years. She knew there was some kind of connection, that there was some sort of mythical creature in the tunnel that was taking people away. But of course, no one would believe her. Tricia just thought she was drugged out. That was until the creature showed up at their house again, and spirited Tricia away. The police, again, just thought that Callie was on drugs and didn't know what she was talking about. So, she decided to take matters into her own hands. She went into the tunnel and attempted to make a "trade." But, we all know, evil spirits and/or creatures aren't very interested in trades.

This one was pretty interesting. I really liked it because it was different. The relationships between the characters were believable and likable, and the acting was really well done. There wasn't a whole lot of gore or action. It was a little bit slow, but it didn't take away from the entertainment. It had a pretty dark atmosphere throughout, whether from the horror aspects, or the situation that Tricia had been put in. We could tell how upset the disappearance of her husband made her. She went through a dark phase in her life, and that was apparent. There were a couple of jump scares, but it was the unknown that was scary. It didn't really explain anything about the creature: what it was, where it came from, or why it was taking people into the walls of the tunnel. I'm a little bit disappointed in that, but it kind of worked. It was a mystery. It reminded me of local folklore type of things: stories that townsfolk tell, but aren't really sure of all the details. Just a kind of, "This happens, but we don't know why." Callie actually made a reference to this in the movie, so I think that was exactly what they were going for. It was vague, but I kind of liked it that way. Most of the time this really pisses me off, and it doesn't work often; but it worked here. And for an independent movie, that's pretty damn impressive. Overall, Absentia was very well made, with good acting, a great story, and an interesting view.

1 comment:

  1. I've been meaning to check this movie out, I know it was an independent one & I adore those! Anyhow, you sold me! I shall check it out.