Absentia (2011) | Just what is the evil lurking beneath the streets in this unsettling indie horror?


I’ve actually watched this indie horror from Oculus director Mike Flanagan twice now. The first time, I switched it off after some 20-odd minutes because nothing seemed to be happening – just two sisters talking about their woes (one of them wants closure over the disappearance of her husband seven years ago, the other has a drug problem). A couple of days later, I watched it again, this time all the way through. And I’m glad I did, as this is not your usual SFX-laden creature feature, it’s an unsettling little number that reminded me of 1970s TV movies like Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and Something Evil that sent shivers down my spine in my youth.

Absentia (2011)

Former druggie Callie (Katie Parker) wants her sister Tricia (Courtney Bell) to move on after her missing husband is legally declared dead: in absentia. While staying with Tricia, Callie finds herself drawn to a spooky nearby neighbourhood underpass. As she begins to link it to a series of other disappearances going back decades, she suspects that the husband’s ‘death’ is also connected. The movie really picks up steam – after all that chick chat – when hubby Daniel (Morgan Peter Brown) turns up wearing the same clothes that he wore the day he disappeared. But he’s a physical, emotional wreck. Where has he been and what has happened to him?

Absentia (2011)

I’m not giving anything away by saying that there are creatures living beneath the underpass – and they like nothing more than kidnapping people and using them as play things. But they are never revealed. I don’t know whether this was a conscious decision by the director or not, but it works. It’s the fear of the unknown that plays out here rather than the usual monster vs the girl cliché. So, if you go into this movie with that in mind, then you’re going to get a big kick out of it.

Absentia (2011)

Absentia is released on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK through Second Sight Films, featuring a host of new bonus features including two audio commentaries, a retrospective ‘making of featurette’, camera test and deleted scenes.


About Peter Fuller

Peter Fuller is an award-winning print, radio and television journalist and producer, with over 30 years experience covering film and television, with a special interest in world cinema and popular culture. He is a leading expert on the life and career of Vincent Price and actively promotes the actor's legacy through publications, websites and special events.

Posted on July 7, 2014, in Horror, Might See, Might-See and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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