Absentia (film)

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Absentia
Absentia2011film.jpg
Directed by Mike Flanagan
Produced by Justin Gordon
Morgan Peter Brown
Mike Flanagan
Written by Mike Flanagan
Starring Katie Parker
Courtney Bell
Dave Levine
Justin Gordon
Morgan Peter Brown
James Flanagan
Scott Graham
Doug Jones
Music by Ryan David Leack
Cinematography Rustin Cerveny
Edited by Mike Flanagan
Production
company
Fallback Plan Productions
Distributed by Phase 4 Films[1][2]
Release dates
  • March 3, 2011 (2011-03-03) (Fargo Film Festival)[3]
Running time 91 minutes[4]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $70,000[citation needed]

Absentia is a 2011 horror film written and directed by Mike Flanagan. The film's principal photography phase was funded by way of the film's project page on crowd funding website Kickstarter.[5] Courtney Bell stars as a pregnant woman whose missing husband briefly reappears after an unexplained seven year absence.

Plot[edit]

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 experience, 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 phase Daniel through solid walls and into the tunnel. 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 fetus (presumably Tricia's) is pushed through the wall, and Callie attempts to run. She is captured by the creatures 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.

Cast[edit]

  • 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

Release[edit]

Film festival screenings[edit]

Absentia debuted on March 3, 2011 at the Fargo Film Festival[3] and opened in other film festivals on the dates given below.

Home media[edit]

The film was later acquired by Phase 4 Films for North American DVD and Video on Demand distribution.[1][2]

Reception[edit]

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."[33] Devin Ashby of Crave Online rated it 9/10 stars and called it "intense, haunting and refreshingly terrifying".[5] Martin Unsworth of Starburst rated it 9/10 stars and called it a instant cult favorite.[34] Dennis Harvey of Variety called it creepy and non-formulaic, though he criticized the lack of a strong payoff in the climax.[35] David Harley of Bloody Disgusting rated it 3/5 stars and called it a "genuinely creepy" film that suffers from a low budget.[36] Debi Moore of Dread Central rated it 4/5 stars and called it "both thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining."[37] 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."[38]

Awards[edit]

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.

Year Festival Award Recipients
2011 Shriekfest Best Horror Feature Film[39] Mike Flanagan
2011 Sacramento Horror Film Festival Best of Festival (Feature Film)[40] Mike Flanagan
2011 Maelstrom International Fantastic Film Festival Best Feature (Jury Award)[41] Mike Flanagan
2011 Freak Show Horror Film Festival Best Horror Feature[42] Mike Flanagan
2011 Sonoma International Film Festival Best Narrative Feature[43] Mike Flanagan
2011 Phoenix Film Festival Best Horror Feature[44] Mike Flanagan
2011 Rhode Island Horror Film Festival First Place[40] Mike Flanagan
2011 ShockerFest International Film Festival Best Horror Feature[45] Mike Flanagan
2011 Buffalo Screams Film Festival Best Horror Feature[40] Mike Flanagan
2011 Buffalo Screams Film Festival Best Director (Feature)[40] Mike Flanagan
2011 Buffalo Screams Film Festival Best Screenplay (Feature)[40] Mike Flanagan
2011 New Orleans Horror Film Festival Best Screenplay[40] Mike Flanagan
2011 Thriller! Chiller! Film Festival Best Thrill Award[40] Mike Flanagan
2011 A Night of Horror International Film Festival Director's Choice Award[46] Mike Flanagan
2011 Tabloid Witch Awards Best Horror Feature Film[47] Mike Flanagan
2011 Tabloid Witch Awards Best Actress[47] Katie Parker & Courtney Bell
2011 Tabloid Witch Awards Best Actor[47] Dave Levine
2011 Tabloid Witch Awards Best Supporting Actor[47] Morgan Peter Brown
2011 Tabloid Witch Awards Best Sound[47] Richard Ragon
2011 Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival Best Sound[48] Gypsy Sound
2011 Fargo Film Festival Honorable Mention[40] Mike Flanagan
2013 Fangoria Best Limited-Release/Direct-to-video Film[49] Mike Flanagan

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Barton, Steve (2011-06-29). "Exclusive New One-Sheet Debut: Absentia - On Demand This Friday July 1st!". Dread Central. Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  2. ^ a b "Phase 4 Films Announces The World Premiere Of ABSENTIA On VOD". GeekTyrant. 2011-06-02. Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  3. ^ a b c "2011 Fargo Film Festival Schedule". fargofilmfestival.org. Retrieved 2011-10-13. 
  4. ^ a b "Phoenix Film Festival 2011 : Absentia". Festival Genius. Retrieved 2011-10-13. 
  5. ^ a b Ashby, Devin (2012-03-22). "DVD Review: Absentia". Crave Online. Retrieved 2013-12-29. 
  6. ^ "Phoenix Film Festival 2011 : Films". Festival Genius. Retrieved 2011-10-13. 
  7. ^ "2011 FILM FESTIVAL SCHEDULE". Arizona International Film Festival. Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
  8. ^ "2011 Films". Arizona International Film Festival. Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
  9. ^ "Sonoma International Film Festival 2011 program guide". Sonoma International Film Festival. Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
  10. ^ "Another Hole in the Head 2011 : Festival Calendar". Festival Genius. Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
  11. ^ "Another Hole in the Head 2011 : Absentia". Festival Genius. Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
  12. ^ "Program Schedule « Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival". Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival. Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
  13. ^ "Action on Film 2011 Film and Video Schedule". Action On Film International Film Festival. Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
  14. ^ "Absentia : Cinemabox & Ubisoft Present Fantasia 2011". Fantasia Festival. Retrieved 2011-10-13. 
  15. ^ "SCHEDULE". Maelstrom International Fantastic Film Festival. Retrieved 2011-10-27. 
  16. ^ "Schedule » The Chicago Horror Film Festival". Spook Show Entertainment Inc. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  17. ^ "Edmonton International Film Festival 2011 : Absentia". Edmonton International Film Festival Society. Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
  18. ^ "2011 Schedule of Events : Big Bear Horro-Fi Film Festival". Big Bear Horro-Fi Film Festival. Retrieved 2011-10-16. 
  19. ^ "SHOCKERFEST 2011 AIRING SCHEDULE". ShockerFest International Film Festival. Retrieved 2011-11-03. 
  20. ^ "2011 Schedule". Shriekfest. Retrieved 2011-10-16. 
  21. ^ "ABSENTIA". FREAK SHOW Horror Film Festival. 2011-09-09. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  22. ^ Snoonian, Mike (2011-09-23). "All Things Horror presents "SHUDDER FEST" October 14th & 15th". All Things Horror. Retrieved 2011-10-31. 
  23. ^ "The Sacramento Horror Film Festival". Sacramento Horror Film Festival. Retrieved 2011-10-23. 
  24. ^ "Thriller! Chiller! 2011 Program Schedule!". Thriller! Chiller! LLC. Retrieved 2011-10-23. 
  25. ^ "TORONTO AFTER DARK 2011 EVENTS". Toronto After Dark Film Festival. Retrieved 2011-10-16. 
  26. ^ Greg Lamberson (2011-10-05). "Official Selections & Schedule for Buffalo Screams 2011". Buffalo Screams Horror Film Festival. Retrieved 2011-10-16. 
  27. ^ "RAVENNA NIGHTMARE FILM FEST 2011". RAVENNA NIGHTMARE FILM FEST. Retrieved 2011-10-23. 
  28. ^ "2011 Eerie Horror Film Festival Schedule". Eerie Horror Film Festival. Retrieved 2011-10-16. 
  29. ^ "Day-By-Day Schedule of Events : October 27-30th, 2011". RI International Horror Film Festival. Retrieved 2011-10-31. 
  30. ^ "Schedule". New Orleans Horror Film Festival. Retrieved 2011-10-16. 
  31. ^ "SCHEDULE 2011". Bram Stoker International Film Festival. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  32. ^ "PROGRAMME". iNAFFF. Retrieved 2011-10-23. 
  33. ^ Mack, Andrew (2011-10-25). "TADFF 2011: ABSENTIA Review". Twitch Film. Retrieved 2013-12-29. 
  34. ^ Unsworth, Martin (2012-05-04). "DVD Review: ABSENTIA". Starburst. 
  35. ^ Harvey, Dennis (2011-06-03). "Review: 'Absentia'". Variety. Retrieved 2013-12-29. 
  36. ^ Harley, David (2011-06-29). "Absentia (VOD)". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2013-12-29. 
  37. ^ Moore, Debi (2011-01-22). "Absentia (2011)". Dread Central. Retrieved 2013-12-29. 
  38. ^ Weinberg, Scott (2012-03-08). "Movie Review: 'Absentia'". Fearnet. Retrieved 2013-12-29. 
  39. ^ Wixson, Heather (2011-10-03). "2011 Shriekfest Film Fest Names Winners; Absentia Takes Home Best Feature!". Dread Central. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  40. ^ a b c d e f g h "AWARDS". absentiamovie.com. Retrieved 2011-10-31. 
  41. ^ "2011 AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED". Maelstrom International Fantastic Film Festival. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  42. ^ "2011 FREAKY Award Winners". FREAK SHOW Horror Film Festival. 2011-10-10. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  43. ^ "FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES AWARD WINNERS". Sonoma International Film Festival. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  44. ^ "2011 Phoenix Film Festival". PHOENIX FILM FESTIVAL. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  45. ^ "2011 WINNERS/NOMINATIONS". ShockerFest International Film Festival. Retrieved 2011-11-03. 
  46. ^ "2011 Festival Award Winners". A Night of Horror. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  47. ^ a b c d e "2011 Tabloid Witch Awards". Tabloid Witch Award. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  48. ^ "Award Winners Announced!". Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival. 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  49. ^ Gingold, Michael (2013-06-13). "The 2013 FANGORIA Chainsaw Awards Results!". Fangoria. Retrieved 2013-12-29. 

External links[edit]