Alright, I can't keep quiet about this one anymore. I watched this movie about two weeks ago, and though I've seen a slew of horror movies since, this movie will not leave my mind. Absentia is the kind of movie that will terrify - whether it's the first scary movie you've seen, or your thousandth.
Absentia follows a pregnant woman who has lost her husband. Walking down the streets of L.A., she replaces worn posters which show a portrait of her lost love. While the woman is pregnant, it turns out her spouse has been lost for years (the reason behind her current pregnancy later reveals itself). The sister of the distressed woman shows up to comfort our protagonist, but her appearance only further causes distress. Much distress.
Absentia succeeds as a horror flick in the same way that Martyrs succeeds as a horror flick. There is so much going on. At first, it appears that the manifestation of the horror is clear; It is a figment of the distressed woman's imagination. However, where 99% of horror movies will stop here - keeping the antagonist static - Absentia does not. The ghostly figment begins to seem more real. Then, Bam! A twist. And another twist. And another twist. Count it, Absentia has three distinct twists within its plot, with many subtle turns to accompany the already dynamic movie. The plot of Absentia is highly impressive, highly immersive, and highly shocking.
And while you may be asking, three twists, doesn't the movie become outlandish? I respond by relating that Absentia actually pulls the audience in with each twist, because, although the reasons may be otherworldly, they are believable and terrifying. Each twist fosters an even deeper sense of dread, an even darker fear of what's manifesting. Absentia is one of the first movies to reawaken the childhood dread I experienced while watching my first horror movies. I commend Absentia for this, as it is hard to do.
From the producer of Oculus and Hush (excellent horror movies by their own right), Mike Flanagan's most obscure film may be his best. This terrifying rollercoaster of a film should not be missed. It is simply stellar.