Absentia (as seen at MIFFF)

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, Absentia 2011Mike FlanaganMike FlanaganKatie Parker,Courtney Bell Bitter,Bitterometer,meter Absentia(2011)

"Absentia" is a hard film to review. I shouldn't reveal too much since the surprises and twists are the best part, but it's also my job (OK, not really, but I want it to be) to get you to go see a film if it's good and this one is a gem. I was able to see it on the big screen thanks to MIFFF and I'm glad I did. Continue reading for the best I could offer as a spoiler free/tantalizing review.

The story is of a woman whose us and disappeared suddenly and has been gone without a trace for seven years. It also involves her sister who returns to help while they file a "Death in Absentia" certificate and get life back on track. Once the paperwork is filed the sisters begin to experience odd supernatural things and this ghost story begins to take shape. To tell you anymore about the film would mean filling this review to the brim with all the great twists and turns the film takes. I firmly believe that having not known them when I walked in to see this film was one of the reasons I enjoyed it as much as I did.

The script is very smart and knows when to vaguely foreshadow and how to work with it's extremely limited budget to still craft a film worthy of praise. The characters are clear and easy to understand though maybe not the most three dimensional, but the cast, story and overall vibe of the film make up for that. Mike Flanagan is a writer (and director) who we'd be pleased to see more work from.

The acting in "Absentia" is pretty top notch as the characters struggle with the supernatural creepiness they are being exposed to. Katie Parker and Courtney Bell handle the roles well with the ups and downs they experience together very naturally. Parker is an actress who I think is worth keeping an eye out for. She gives us a great performance and doesn't drag her with us as much as makes us willingly want to follow her into any shadow she might enter.

"Absentia" is not a shocker, slasher or gorefest of a movie, instead the film paces itself and savors the creepy moments. A slow pace would typically sink other films that aren't so well directed, written and performed, but this film strings you along one surprise to the next. Due to the low budget it’s forced to allude to the creature in the dark (not a spoiler since it's in the trailer), but this is either brilliant decision making on the filmmakers' parts or a beneficial side effect of the budget constraints.

Thankfully, it was shot Canon EOS 5D and doesn't have that bad dv/home video vibe. Instead the film is clear, well lit and well balanced. This helps draw you into the film as you would any other well-funded film without constantly thinking that it was shot with mom's old camera.

On two fun side notes:

See how they earned funding for the film from kickstarter.com at their fundraising page (funny videos included).

Also see our Hotties in Haiku for the star of the show Katie Parker here.


Official website:

Absentia2011Mike FlanaganMike FlanaganKatie Parker,Courtney Bell  Absentia2011Mike FlanaganMike FlanaganKatie Parker,Courtney Bell  Absentia2011Mike FlanaganMike FlanaganKatie Parker,Courtney Bell  Absentia2011Mike FlanaganMike FlanaganKatie Parker,Courtney Bell  Absentia2011Mike FlanaganMike FlanaganKatie Parker,Courtney Bell 

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