Absentia (2011) Movie Review

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Absentia (2011) Movie Review - Absentia Story, Movie Review, Cast And RatingIt is on very rare occasions that we get to see Indie films take the world by storm. Despite being filmed on extremely low budgets, these movies manage to leave a permanent mark with the audience with their unique plots, solid narration and exemplary performances. And not frequentely do we get to see a director giving more attention to the story of the project first instead of trying to bind together a movie around a weak base plot.

‘Absentia’ is one such film that although released without any fan fare on January 28, 2011, has been getting good reviews all around. Written and directed by Mike Flanagan, the film scores brownie points in various departments, including an intelligent script, descriptive narrative, natural actors and of course, the mystery that shrouds the entire story.

‘Absentia’ starts off with Callie’s (Katie Parker) arrival into her sister Tricia’s (Courtney Bell) life. Tricia is going through a crisis of sorts. Her husband Daniel (Morgan Peter Brown) disappeared more than 7 years ago and all attempts by Tricia to locate him have failed till now.

Pregnant with another man’s child, Tricia is forced to move out of the house where she and Daniel had spent their happier days together as a couple. This is when Callie steps in to help. A wayward by nature, Callie wants to move on in life as well and helps Tricia obtain Daniel’s legal death certificate (she thinks he is probably not going to come back now that it’s been more than 7 years since he disappeared; or is probably dead anyway).

The action though seems to trigger off a series of disturbing events in both their lives. Tricia starts getting nightmares and visions of an agnry Daniel stalking their house. She reveals the same to a therapist who hints at the idea of a mental breakdown (he feels that Tricia’s profound guilt in obtaining the death certificate of her missing but possibly alive husband is causing these lucid visions).

Absentia (2011) Movie Review - Absentia Story, Movie Review, Cast And Rating

Callie is suffering from the same as well. However, her visions are of people or things inhabiting an abandoned tunnel (pretty spooky too) that connects Tricia’s street with the neighborhood park. On one instance, she sees a homeless man who mumbles about escaping while the things in the tunnel were sleeping and her fears intensify.

However, Callie has had a bitter past of her own involving constant fights with her in laws and drug abuse. And she has had her own share of hallucinations over the years as well. This actually makes the audience and Callie herself wonder about the authenticity of the visions that she has experienced so far.

In steps Missing Persons Detective Mallory (Dave Levine) who harbors secret feelings for Tricia while professionally helping her to trace her husband’s whereabouts. As things start getting out of hand and Tricia’s visions become increasingly scary, Callie takes it upon herself to put together the pieces of a deep dark secret that threatens to question her very sanity. However when she tries to reveal the same, no one seems to believe her owing to her disturbing past!

Absentia (2011) Movie Review - Absentia Story, Movie Review, Cast And Rating

The beauty of ‘Absentia’ lies in the fact that you find it extremely hard to fit it into one particular category of films. You find yourself wondering as to whether the movie is a paranormal story, an urban legend or a psychological thriller. And Absentia manages to keep you in the dark regarding the same by choosing not to answer the question.

The result? You get to see a bit of everything in the movie which for the most part plays inside the character’s heads. The movie’s central plot is unique and nowhere doing the narrative do you feel the sense of déjà vu. All the sequences appear authentic and very realistic.

The dialogues are facinating to hear, thanks to the exemplary cast that manages to deliver the lines with ease and perfection. It is extremely pleasing to see a low budget indie film employ decent actors who can actually emote their lines naturally rather than read the same from a paper with no effect at all.

Absentia (2011) Movie Review - Absentia Story, Movie Review, Cast And Rating

The screenplay is brilliant and so is the narrative that is fast paced and loaded with plenty of thrills to keep you interested for the entire run time of 87 minutes. The movie has its share of thrills and chills that are not like your normal jump scares and stingers though.

Instead, the director has attempted to and should we say, succeeded in employing a whole lot of relatively subdued and controlled chills that still manage to scare the living daylights out of you. Just goes to show that it is not necessarily the CGI effects that work when it comes to scaring the audience.

Another huge plus point for ‘Absentia’ is it’s excellent cast. Both Bell and Parker have performed extremely well in their respective roles and are unseparable on screen. Morgan Peter Brown is terrifying as the apparition that haunts Tricia in her dreams.

Absentia (2011) Movie Review - Absentia Story, Movie Review, Cast And Rating

Dave Levine has done a good job and so has Justin Gordon who essays the role of an additional detective assigned to the case. The rest of the cast is natural as well and completely flawless. At the end of the day, they look and seem like regular people you can immediately connect with.

On the whole, ‘Absentia’ is one movie that needs to be watched for its thought provoking and yet entertaining value. Belive us, you won’t regret it!

Director: Mike Flanagan

Cast: Katie Parker, Courtney Bell, Dave Levine, Morgan Peter Brown and Justin Gordon

Rating: 4/5

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