Blu-ray Review: Absentia

There are a depressingly large amount of uninspiring, lazy and just plain bad horror films made. The proliferation of cheap technology has made it progressively easier for anyone to have a go at making films on a small budget. Absentia was funded though Kickstarter and cost a mere $70,000, and whilst there’s some interesting ideas and notable camerawork, as a whole it just doesn’t really work.

Heavily pregnant, Tricia (Courtney Bell) is still trying to get over the disappearance of her husband, Daniel (Morgan Peter Brown), seven years ago. Her sister Callie (Katie Parker) comes to stay with her, and whilst Tricia is a homebody, Callie is more of a wild child and a former drug addict. Tricia is about ready to start a relationship with Detective Mallory (Dave Levine) who has been investigating her missing husband. However, the sisters start to have disturbing visions and then odd occurrences begin. The sudden re-appearance of Daniel leads to things escalating; is there something evil in the tunnel across the road?

As the ‘retrospective’ feature contained on the extras attests, most of the cast are budding actors and friends of the director. It was also shot very quickly, only relying on one or two takes. The only exception is Doug Jones, who puts in easily the best performance. Some of the acting is decent but there are a few performances which are at best amateurish. The same can be said for the direction. Whilst the story doesn’t really work, it does have some interesting ideas. However, I’m glad people are prepared to make these kinds of horror films, and not just stick to obvious clichés. Mike Flannagan went on to make Oculus, which is current doing very well at the Box Office, and proves that he’s a talented director.

Special Features:

* Audio commentary with director / producer Mike Flanagan and producers Morgan Peter Brown, Joe Wicker and Justin Gordon.
* Audio commentary with director Mike Flanagan and cast members Katie Parker, Courtney Bell, Dave Levine and Doug Jones.
* ‘Absentia: A Retrospective’ documentary
* Camera Test Teaser
* Deleted Scenes

Absentia is released on Blu-ray by Second Sight on July 7

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