August 15, 2012

Absentia (2011)

"A woman and her sister begin to link a mysterious tunnel to a series of disappearances, including that of her own husband."

I watched this on Monday night after it was recommended to me. I have no idea why anyone who knows how much I loathe such things would recommend a glorified backyard epic to me unless they thought it would be funny to do so, but I watched it all the way through twice just to spite them.

Written and directed Mike Flanagan, "Absentia" is an 87 minute borefest which is at least an hour too long. It might have worked as a short story or a YouTube video, but the feature length really drags out what isn't a very interesting idea in the first place.

As hateful as this may sound, I wasn't exactly thrilled by seeing a heavily pregnant, freckly woman waddling about or from enduring the other equally lardy non-actors. Although the younger sister, played by Katie Parker, is facially better looking in some scenes, she's a chubster too with a huge rear-end, cankles and large upper arms which make her head look too small for her body. Having said that, she's still kind of hot and is probably the only one who knew how to act in this horrible non-movie. If she leaves the Tastykakes alone, she might become famous one day.

Since it was filmed in L.A., where if you can't find an out of work actor to appear in your movie then you really shouldn't be allowed out of your own house unsupervised, a very recognisable face and body has a small cameo role. Doug Jones has been in all sorts of things playing very thin people and creatures including "Quarantine", "Pan's Labyrinth", "Hellboy" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". Remember the "Hush" episode of Buffy which won awards 12 years ago? He was one of the "Gentlemen" in it. In "Absentia", he plays yet another emaciated-looking character for all of 2 minutes, but he does it well.

There's no way that I can say anything about the plot without spoiling it for you, but, since I don't care, I'm going to do precisely that anyway and save you the extortionate $16.28 (or $12.99 instant watch) price that Amazon wants for it. Seriously, this movie is worth about $2.99 at most although a fairer price would be 99c.

"Absentia" isn't a ghost story, isn't much of a horror story, but is kind of an adult fairytale about a troll who lives in a tunnel andis responsible for a lot of disappearances over the years. I never really got to see the troll for more than a couple of milliseconds except by pausing on it, but it's some kind of insecty thing and not what anyone who has seen "Trollhunter" (2010) would imagine. Basically, it's a load of crap.

The whole situation caused by the freckly, pregnant woman's husband going missing 7 years before is what makes up the majority of the film. I think the idea is that you're supposed to think she's going mad from grief and guilt about getting knocked-up by a fat cop until the twist comes that the recently declared dead in absentia husband has returned. She just isn't an interesting enough character to care about anyway in spite of forcing her enormous cleavage into every shot. By the time she sat cross-legged on the floor to play with some Buddhist mumbo-jumbo, I'd had enough of her.

Her younger sister is supposed to be a rehabilitated drug addict who obviously isn't so her testimony and science-babble exposition after she discovers the truth is never likely to be believed. Could there be a more predictable character in a movie? Why, yes, of course there could since this is full of clich├ęs and tropes.

Another character who is trying to get his father (played by the previously mentioned Doug Jones) back from the troll by trading local pets and other things which he's stolen is a little bit more interesting, but not by much.

This is a poor man's Lovecraft-clone and, let's be completely honest, it's little more than a ripoff of the TV adaptation of Stephen King's "Crouch End" (from "Nightmares & Dreamscapes") anyway. If I wanted to watch a decent Lovecraft-inspired movie, I'd rather have something such as "In the Mouth of Madness" (1994) or "Event Horizon" (1997) not amateur dreck like this. $70,000 was the budget? Give me a break. How long did it take to make? A week?

Since "Absentia" is partially (actually mostly) funded by e-begging through Kickstarter, it's yet another reason why people who can't afford to make films shouldn't.

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