Today my son had a fever. A bad one. While at the hospital, where time slows to a standstill, I was reading this article on my iPhone. It’s a top-ten list of indie horror films every genre fan should see. Now, top-ten lists are obviously subjective and prone to bias opinion (we all enjoy different things), but I was more than happy to see Absentia on this list.
Absentia is written and directed by Mike Flanagan and stars Courtney Bell, Katie Parker, and Dave Levine. This movie caught me by surprise. I forget how I came to watching it in the first place, but it was about a year or two ago, and it was one of those gems that come out of nowhere. It surprised me in that it is well written, well directed, well acted, and best of all, it has some really creepy moments. A lot of horror movies fail in this department, which is sometimes okay, but this movie is aware of itself and doesn’t fail in delivering to genre nuts like myself the right amount of mystery, creepiness, and atmosphere.
The movie is about Tricia, a woman whose husband disappeared over seven years ago. When we meet her, she’s tearing down old posters of her husbands missing persons poster from telephone poles. She replaces them with crisp new ones. He disappeared without any logical reason. They weren’t struggling with their relationship, they weren’t suffering any difficulties of any sort, and he didn’t even leave a note. Something about this really bothers Tricia and has since he left, and even though she’s ready to declare him legally dead in absentia, there’s a part of her that still hopes he might return, or at least learn of his fate.
That’s as much as I’m going to give you. To go on further would spoil what, to me, was a fascinating trip into grief, regret, and a longing that cannot be satisfied. Absentia is a slow burn, meaning that it moves slowly, and the atmospheric score never changes. The former gets a little annoying–and I like that kind of atmospheric music–but it was like, “Come on, change it around a little bit, add a new note here and there.”
Despite this, I highly recommend Absentia. It easily makes my top 25 favourite horror movies.
Check out the remainder of that top ten list from Horror-Movies.ca. There’s some more gems in there. But Absentia is, by far, my favourite of the bunch.
Oh, and my son’s okay, by the way. He has a urinary tract infection and is now on antibiotics and is sleeping. I should be working on my novel, or maybe some homework, but hey … here’s to pro-active procrastination.