Review: Absentia

Directed by Mike Flanagan

Out from Second Sight on DVD and Blu Ray

At last, a low budget horror where the chills definitely aren’t absent.

I have to be honest, I wasn’t expecting a great deal when I sat down to watch Absentia, in spite of some of the glowing testimonies on the PR and box… So many low budgeters these days, especially in the horror genre, rely on gore and out-and-out grossness to get a reaction. Imagine my surprise when, not that far into the film, I began to feel genuinely scared – and that doesn’t happen very often to this jaded reviewer.

The story revolves around ex-addict Callie (Katie Parker) visiting her pregnant older sister, Tricia (Courtney Bell). Tricia’s husband vanished suddenly seven years ago, but Tricia still walks the streets putting up posters with his photo on them – and has actually started to have disturbing visions of Daniel. Callie encourages her to let go, to finally declare him dead ‘in absentia’, and perhaps move her relationship forward with the cop who’s been dealing with this missing person case…

But when Callie sees another man who disappeared crop up in the local underpass tunnel, and Tricia’s husband also returns, things start to get more than a little creepy. Where have the missing people been all this time, and what took them? The answers are more shocking than even Callie or Tricia could have imagined.

You might be sitting there thinking you’ve heard at least some of this before, but I urge you to give Absentia a chance. There’s a reason people like Kim Newman has called it ‘one of the outstanding horror releases of the year’ and Aintitcoolnews declared it ‘Damn terrifying’. Yes, it’s really that good. With solid characterisation and acting, backed up by flesh-creeping moments – the appearances of Daniel in Tricia’s everyday life, for example (some of which recall the powerful ending of The Blair Witch Project or scenes in BBC Three’s recent series The Fades) – really make the world of difference.

In fact, I challenge you to watch this late at night with the lights low and not get weirded out. Flanagan is a writer-director who shows a lot of promise. I just hope whenHollywood comes knocking with the big budgets, he sticks to his guns and remembers his roots. It’ll be our loss if he doesn’t.

This could be the start of something big in horror circles, watch it now 10/10

Paul Kane

Click here to order Absentia from Amazon.co.uk

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