What an interesting, quirky, and altogether different little flick this Absentia is. Funded in-part by the online fundraising site Kickstarter, this itty-bitty indie is another example of You Can Do It film making.
Absentia stars Courtney Bell as a Tricia – a pregnant young woman whose husband went missing 7 years prior. Tricia’s ne’er-do-well sister Callie (Katie Parker) comes to stay with her as she reluctantly begins the process of moving on with her life, by declaring her husband dead “in absentia”. With the help of a smitten detective (and probable father to the unborn baby), Tricia begins to do just that… yet terrifying visions begin to occur, and her sister becomes more and more drawn to a dark tunnel near their apartment.
What really happened to Tricia’s husband 7 years ago? Does it have something to do with the freeway tunnel, or is there a less-fantastic explanation for all of the events that seem to be occurring just as Tricia is ready to move on? Is Tricia experiencing visions related to her pregnancy, or is her missing husband trying to reach her? Is her sister Callie still a drug addict… or she really on to something regarding that creepy tunnel? And what’s with the odd people Callie keeps running into in the tunnel – do they really exist? And what’s all this talk of “trade”???
What makes Absentia stand out – aside from the nice performances by both leads – is that the film ambles along slowly toward its conclusion while never letting go of the viewer’s interest. Yes, this film moves at a snail’s pace – deliberately so, ramping up the tension and the intrigue. Questions keep coming, getting answered, and leading to more questions (don’t worry – most questions are answered by film’s end). Each step toward the conclusion keeps the viewer on their toes.
Is it a horror movie? Well… that depends completely on what frightens you. Absentia could best be described as an intimate family-drama filtered through a Lovecraftian lens as told by Mother Goose. Crazy? Maybe – but definitely worthwhile and impressively crafted.