absentia-photo_4Absentia is a 2011 horror mystery directed by Mike Flanagan. It’s an independent film funded largely via the crowd funding website ‘Kickstarter’ and it won multiple awards at festivals.

Tricia’s husband disappeared seven years ago, she is now pregnant with another man’s baby with plans to move on with her life. As the pressure mounts her sister Callie comes to stay, and helps her make the decision to declare her husband ‘dead in absentia’. However there’s more to his departure, and they soon begin to link not just his disappearance but the disappearance of many other people to a mysterious tunnel near their house.

Credit where credit’s due, for an independent, crowd funded film it did very well for itself and isn’t bad. But as a horror film it was completely underwhelming. It has one of those jumbled narratives that doesn’t seem to understand itself and it leaves gaping plot absentia_2holes and unanswered questions. Even the ending supplies us with three possible solutions to the mystery (although we as an audience have been given enough evidence to know which of the three is correct).

There’s a giant bug who’s existence is never explained, the tunnel is some mysterious place where people go missing yet we’re never really given the chance to understand it. It’s all very random and haphazard and doesn’t make an awful lot of sense.

There are very few scary moments, and much of the film plays out in daylight which makes for a far less tense horror experience. It has an interesting concept but it doesn’t feel as though Flanagan (who both wrote and directed the film) really understands it himself. It’s an attempt at a horror film that is more than just the usual, done-to-death storyline, but it falls short of the mark.

He doesn't look so good...
He doesn’t look so good…

Everything about the film is mediocre  the acting is questionable at times, the writing is jumbled and unsure of itself and the storyline makes no sense. We’re left with an unsatisfyingly open conclusion with three different possibilities to ponder and although it’s good to leave some things to the audience’s imagination, this film doesn’t provide any kind of explanation about what’s going on.

It left me feeling underwhelmed and let down, I had no idea what it was all about and it didn’t really feel like a horror film. Kudos to the director though, it’s a big deal to fund a film via crowd funding and then have it do well at festivals, but looking at it objectively it’s really not very good.

7 thoughts on “Absentia


    I really liked this, kind of, a lot : )

    I see where you’re coming from though – it’s not for everyone. For some reason i loved the two leads and that scene on the stairway really did it for me.

    Good work!!


  2. I agree with you 100%. This film would have been better as a 40 minute Master Of Horrors episode, rather than a full- length feature. I fast forwarded through several long scenes of dialogue and missed nothing. There just wasn’t enough scary or monster scenes in the film. I usually like indie horror stuff but I was bored during much of this.


    1. Yeah definitely could have worked as a short…it was quite dragged out. I love indie films, and low budget horror’s are usually pretty good but this was just a let down


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