Absentia is a 2011 horror film written and directed by Mike Flanagan (Oculus). It follows two sisters who begin to link a series of mysterious disappearances to an ominous tunnel near their house. The film’s principal photography phase was funded by way of the film’s project page on crowd funding website Kickstarter.
Tricia’s husband Daniel has been missing for seven years. Her younger sister Callie comes to live with her as the pressure mounts to finally declare him ‘dead in absentia’. As Tricia sifts through the wreckage and tries to move on with her life, Callie finds herself drawn to an ominous tunnel near the house that might also be connected to other neighbourhood disappearances. Soon it becomes clear that the ancient force at work in the tunnel might have set its sights on Callie and Tricia … and that Daniel might be suffering a fate far worse than death in its grasp.
‘Central to the film’s success are the cast – naturalistic, convincing and far removed from the one-dimensional pretty people normally found in genre movies, the characters and their relationships seem entirely genuine. Worth mentioning too is the soundtrack – a low key, creepy, unsettling score that hints are horror without hammering the point home. Absentia is that rare thing – a restrained, realistic horror film dealing with supernatural fears. Leaving more questions than it answers, it’s a real gem that deserved better than a relatively unheralded straight-to-DVD release’. David Flint, Strange Things Are Happening
‘Absentia is a real treat – an intimate, chilling thriller that crawls into your chest and squeezes tight. This film does it right; it takes its time to set up an interesting scenario and to build realistic, believable characters. Then it slowly introduces the supernatural elements creating psychologically tense moments that will make your heart race. It is well paced, well directed and well acted – a solid piece of film making inhibited only by its limited budget.’ Horror News
‘Atmospheric, captivating, terrifying and full of suspense, it’s one of the most original stories to play out on the small screen that I’ve had the privilege of viewing this year.’ Planet of Terror
‘Flanagan deftly takes Absentia from a typical ghost story into true psychological thriller territory while using mythology to conjure an explanation that is both supernatural and eerily realistic.’ Strange Kids Club
‘Absentia is a perfect example of how with the right guidance, you don’t need a massive budget, or lashings of gore to create an effective and scary horror film. This is great horror filmmaking and I look forward to seeing what the people behind this film do next on a stronger budget. Can they manage to replicate the atmosphere they build here, when time and money are less of a premium, I hope so, because if they do we might have a great new horror film maker in Mike Flanagan’. To Watch Pile