|Directed by||Mike Flanagan|
|Written by||Mike Flanagan|
|Music by||Ryan David Leack|
|Edited by||Mike Flanagan|
Fallback Plan Productions
|Distributed by||Phase 4 Films|
Absentia is a 2011 horror film written and directed by Mike Flanagan and produced by FallBack Plan Productions. The film's principal photography phase was funded by way of the film's project page on crowd funding website Kickstarter. Courtney Bell stars as a pregnant woman whose missing husband briefly reappears after an unexplained seven-year absence.
After seven years, Tricia, a pregnant woman who lives alone in the Los Angeles valley, is finally ready to accept that her missing husband Daniel will not return. As she prepares to declare him dead in absentia, her sister Callie, a former addict, comes to stay with her. Together, they work to obtain Daniel's death certificate and find a new apartment for Tricia. As the date approaches, Tricia has terrifying nightmares and hallucinations about Daniel that her psychiatrist interprets as stress and guilt. While jogging, Callie runs into a gaunt man in a tunnel who seems shocked that she can see him. He begs her to contact his son, but she runs off. Later, she returns with food and leaves it in the tunnel.
When Callie discovers a pile of small metal objects on their doorstop, she assumes they were left there by the man in the tunnel, and she places them at the tunnel entrance. A man walking by advises her not to do so and deposits a trash bag in the same spot. She later finds the pile of metal objects on her bed. Detective Mallory, who has been investigating Daniel's disappearance, responds to the call and chastises the women for leaving their door unlocked in a dangerous neighborhood. Callie secretly relapses into drug use, and Tricia signs her husband's death certificate. As Tricia steps out on a date with Mallory, a bloody and barefoot Daniel suddenly appears in front of their apartment and collapses.
At the hospital, doctors diagnose Daniel as severely malnourished, dehydrated, and physically abused. Daniel seems surprised that others can see him and can only explain that he was "underneath". Tricia contacts his parents, and he returns home, where he acts strangely and urinates in fear of the sight of the tunnel. Mallory and his partner, Detective Lonergan, attempt to interrogate Daniel, but he does not respond. Later, Tricia breaks down and strikes Daniel, begging him to explain his disappearance, but he still does not respond. Mallory comes by, and he and Tricia talk in his car. Mallory pledges his devotion to her, and they kiss.
At the same time, Daniel surprises Callie in her room and explains that she made a trade with an insectoid creature that hides in the walls. Callie investigates strange movement by the bathroom and is knocked unconscious. When she wakes, she sees a creature pull Daniel into the tunnel and through the tunnel's solid walls. Lonergan interrogates Callie, and she lies about her drug use. When Tricia discovers Callie's stash, she accuses Callie of hallucinating the entire incident. Callie shows Tricia information she found on the Internet about missing people, including Walter Lambert, the man she saw in the tunnel; Lambert's son claims that he was taken by monsters.
Daniel's parents arrive, and Tricia tells them that Daniel has once again disappeared. The police discover Walter Lambert's bloody body at the entrance to the tunnel, and the man Callie saw earlier is revealed to be his son, Jamie. The police accuse Jamie of kidnapping local pets, and he implies that he has been offering them as sacrifices to recover his father. Tricia and Callie are attacked by the creature, and it kidnaps Tricia. Callie files a missing person report, then returns to the tunnel to offer a trade. She hears screams and sees the forms of people through the walls. A mass of flesh (presumably Tricia's fetus) is pushed through the wall, and Callie attempts to run. She is captured by the creature(s) before she can escape the tunnel.
Mallory finds an envelope Callie left for him that contains her research. Lonergan assures him that they will keep the cases open indefinitely. He speculates that Jamie, whom he suspects to be a serial killer, may have killed Tricia and Callie, but Mallory chooses to believe that Callie ran away and Tricia is happily living off the land somewhere. While Mallory puts up posters, he sees an apparition of Callie standing in the tunnel, but when he investigates more closely, she is gone. As he walks away, Callie watches him from the tunnel as the creature's limb rests on her shoulder.
- Katie Parker as Callie
- Courtney Bell as Tricia
- Dave Levine as Det. Mallory
- Justin Gordon as Det. Lonergan
- Morgan Peter Brown as Daniel
- James Flanagan as Jamie Lambert
- Scott Graham as Dr. Elliott
- Ian Gregory as Mitch
- Doug Jones as Walter Lambert
- Connie Ventress as Ruth
Film festival screenings
Absentia debuted on March 3, 2011 at the Fargo Film Festival and opened in other film festivals on the dates given below.
|United States||March 3, 2011||Fargo Film Festival|
|United States||March 10, 2011||San Luis Obispo International Film Festival|
|United States||April 1, 2011||Phoenix Film Festival|
|Australia||April 8, 2011||A Night of Horror International Film Festival|
|United States||April 8, 2011||Arizona International Film Festival|
|United States||April 8, 2011||Sonoma International Film Festival|
|United States||June 4, 2011||Pittsburgh Horror Film Festival|
|United States||June 6, 2011||Another Hole in The Head Film Festival|
|United States||July 22, 2011||Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival|
|United States||July 23, 2011||Action On Film International Film Festival|
|United States||July 23, 2011||Fright Night Film Festival|
|Canada||July 28, 2011||Fantasia Film Festival|
|United States||September 18, 2011||Maelstrom International Fantastic Film Festival|
|United States||September 24, 2011||Chicago Horror Film Festival|
|Canada||September 29, 2011||Edmonton International Film Festival|
|United States||September 30, 2011||Big Bear Horro-Fi Film Festival|
|United States||October 1, 2011||ShockerFest International Film Festival|
|United States||October 2, 2011||Shriekfest|
|United States||October 8, 2011||Freak Show Horror Film Festival|
|United States||October 14, 2011||All Things Horror Presents Shudder Fest|
|United States||October 22, 2011||Sacramento Horror Film Festival|
|United States||October 22, 2011||Thriller! Chiller! Film Festival|
|Canada||October 24, 2011||Toronto After Dark Film Festival|
|United States||October 26, 2011||Buffalo Screams Horror Film Festival|
|Italy||October 26, 2011||Ravenna Nightmare Film Festival|
|United States||October 27, 2011||Eerie Horror Film Festival|
|United States||October 28, 2011||Rhode Island International Horror Film Festival|
|United States||October 29, 2011||New Orleans Horror Film Festival|
|United States||October 31, 2011||Frank N' Con|
|United Kingdom||October 31, 2011||Bram Stoker International Film Festival|
|Indonesia||November 14, 2011||Indonesia International Fantastic Film Festival|
Andrew Mack of Twitch Film wrote that the film does not live up its hype, but "it is still an effective and creepy supernatural horror." Devin Ashby of Crave Online rated it 9/10 stars and called it "intense, haunting and refreshingly terrifying". Martin Unsworth of Starburst rated it 9/10 stars and called it a instant cult favorite. Dennis Harvey of Variety called it creepy and non-formulaic, though he criticized the lack of a strong payoff in the climax. David Harley of Bloody Disgusting rated it 3/5 stars and called it a "genuinely creepy" film that suffers from a low budget. Debi Moore of Dread Central rated it 4/5 stars and called it "both thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining." Scott Weinberg of Fearnet wrote that "Absentia certainly won't blow your speakers (or your mind), but it's still a very strong piece of independent genre filmmaking: a melancholy tale of loss that's only peripherally a horror flick, but a good one all the same."
Absentia earned various awards in categories ranging from recognition of the film itself to its screenplay, direction and editing, to the performance of the lead actors.
|2011||Shriekfest||Best Horror Feature Film||Mike Flanagan|
|2011||Sacramento Horror Film Festival||Best of Festival (Feature Film)||Mike Flanagan|
|2011||Maelstrom International Fantastic Film Festival||Best Feature (Jury Award)||Mike Flanagan|
|2011||Freak Show Horror Film Festival||Best Horror Feature||Mike Flanagan|
|2011||Sonoma International Film Festival||Best Narrative Feature||Mike Flanagan|
|2011||Phoenix Film Festival||Best Horror Feature||Mike Flanagan|
|2011||Rhode Island Horror Film Festival||First Place||Mike Flanagan|
|2011||ShockerFest International Film Festival||Best Horror Feature||Mike Flanagan|
|2011||Buffalo Screams Film Festival||Best Horror Feature||Mike Flanagan|
|2011||Buffalo Screams Film Festival||Best Director (Feature)||Mike Flanagan|
|2011||Buffalo Screams Film Festival||Best Screenplay (Feature)||Mike Flanagan|
|2011||New Orleans Horror Film Festival||Best Screenplay||Mike Flanagan|
|2011||Thriller! Chiller! Film Festival||Best Thrill Award||Mike Flanagan|
|2011||A Night of Horror International Film Festival||Director's Choice Award||Mike Flanagan|
|2011||Tabloid Witch Awards||Best Horror Feature Film||Mike Flanagan|
|2011||Tabloid Witch Awards||Best Actress||Katie Parker & Courtney Bell|
|2011||Tabloid Witch Awards||Best Actor||Dave Levine|
|2011||Tabloid Witch Awards||Best Supporting Actor||Morgan Peter Brown|
|2011||Tabloid Witch Awards||Best Sound||Richard Ragon|
|2011||Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival||Best Sound||Gypsy Sound|
|2011||Fargo Film Festival||Honorable Mention||Mike Flanagan|
|2013||Fangoria||Best Limited-Release/Direct-to-video Film||Mike Flanagan|
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- "RAVENNA NIGHTMARE FILM FEST 2011" (PDF). RAVENNA NIGHTMARE FILM FEST. Retrieved 2011-10-23.
- "2011 Eerie Horror Film Festival Schedule". Eerie Horror Film Festival. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
- "Day-By-Day Schedule of Events : October 27-30th, 2011". RI International Horror Film Festival. Retrieved 2011-10-31.
- "Schedule". New Orleans Horror Film Festival. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
- "SCHEDULE 2011" (PDF). Bram Stoker International Film Festival. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- "PROGRAMME". iNAFFF. Retrieved 2011-10-23.
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- "2011 Tabloid Witch Awards". Tabloid Witch Award. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- "Award Winners Announced!". Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival. 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- Gingold, Michael (2013-06-13). "The 2013 FANGORIA Chainsaw Awards Results!". Fangoria. Retrieved 2013-12-29.