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Absentia (2011)

I have had the habit recently of watching slightly too many scary movies that are handicapped by one or more things. In some cases it's the script, or maybe the acting, the direction, even the budget. All of them had something going for them, however, but were hampered from becoming above average because of something fundamental to their delivery.



With Absentia, it is most certainly the combination of a couple of things. To say that this film is affected by the tiny seventy thousand dollar budget would be doing films like 'Evidence' a disservice. Some great horror movies have been produced on a tiny fraction of the budget Flanagan has to play with here and the film does indeed have some genuinely intriguing moments.


This is a simple enough tale of two sisters, one pregnant, still mourning what she assumes is the tragic disappearance and then assumed death of her husband and the other back from travelling the country for five years, never putting down roots anywhere, only to end up back with her sister as she finally goes about putting her husband finally to rest by removing his things from the house that she plans to shortly move out of. When the death certificate finally arrives, it seems just when life can begin again, fate has other things in mind.


The acting itself is not bad as such, with Katie Parker the stand out turn here. Most of the rest of the cast look just plain uncomfortable delivering their lines, making the scenes without Parker in them seem a little wooden and theatre school dramatic. Parker is comfortable with her character and her delivery, however, and you can forgive the viewer, if it becomes a little too tiresome in the scenes when she is not around.


There are some interesting twists in the course of the ninety minute running time, but there are more untied loose ends than opportunities for closure for an audience that no doubt wishes better for its entertainment, but is prepared to persevere with it out of good nature. The film spits out some unique approaches to missing persons, fleshing out a tale that, by the time of this reveal, was in danger of becoming so completely nonsensical, that just about any explanation that fitted would do. Quite the most obvious reverse engineered movie I've seen in some time, but for all of that, it is at times full of intrigue.

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