Absentia: Movie Review

Right out of the get go, I’ll admit it, some would not call this a nerdy article. This is a Horror movie review article, but it of course involves Christianity, and at least at one point in the movie there is a  comic book! I do feel Horror movies have a nerd fandom all their own and their is some cross over, anyways, here we go, a mostly spoiler free review.

3 Billy Goats Gruff ?

 The story begins when a woman named Tricia is completing the paperwork to declare her husband dead by Absentia. He had disappeared seven years ago and it’s obvious she has struggled to move on. Her sister Callie arrives and attempts to help her move out of the bad neighbor. The two have a great chemistry, Callie has a past all her own, and Tricia is pregnant despite the missing husband. They argue from time to time and while they love each other, they don’t understand each other.

Of particular interest to me is the sister , Callie, who moves in is  Christian. Early in the film she says an amazing prayer, “Lord help me get my $h!t together.”  It’s a prayer I think many of would say if we didn’t feel it was too frank a tone to use with the creator of the universe.But it is deeply personal and heart felt just like a  psalm. We can forget how candid the bible can be, (go read Song of Songs!) The character in this movie has faith and is a real human being. She swears one minute, and then tries to give an open door to to a person in need the next, she has fear when she meets a home less man and is terrified, then later is convicted to bring him food and get out of her comfort zone.

Callie attempts to debate her sister over wither things of the supernatural. Are they purely in our minds, or are a part of something, something un seen in the life.Things then slowly dissolve into crazy with a focus on a nearby tunnel. This movie has a monster (or does it?) with limited jump scares and a less is more approach. The story is a grown up version of 3 Bily Goats Gruff, and that story itself is referenced in the movie.  As drama of the two sisters gives way into the thriller and focuses on the monster and questioning the supernatural an important turning point occurs at a visit to sacred heart hospital.

no, not that sacred heart.

well closer…

Starting at the hospital lots of doubt is cast on what is seen. It reminds me of the Exorcism of Emily Rose in that at times it can entertain either possibilities. In attempt to prevent spoilers I am going to have skip discussing some of the most interesting parts of the film.  I can however discuss some more of Callie’s faith. Some of her later comments are … well wrong. She has a major slip into her past life in the movie, and it hurt her credibility. I think it is wise to remember it us we, not God who grade sins in attempt to minimize some of them, or judge others.  In the end she attempts to return to the right path. When she couldn’t figure out how to witness to her sister who is resisting it, she just gave her sister a hug, and I thought that was inspiring.  Her sister’s philosophy on life is eventual revealed, and I found it interesting that the writer and director chose to give a eastern leaning slant. In those cultures there is no attempt to unify reality and religious belief, and she continues to be resistant to accept what is under the tunnel.

The movie has several jumps scares, but where it really excels is the slow build of suspense, characters that feel real and distinguishable from one another. The movie appears to be shot for little budget with no-name (but surprisingly good) actors and is thankfully currently on the Netflix instant que. It was once said, “We need more Christians in stories, as opposed to Christian stories.” This was the most attractive aspect of the movie for me, it’s believable depiction of a struggling believer in what I felt was a non mocking tone. If you enjoy thriller type horror (not gory horror) give this a shot on Netflix. Be warned there is brief drug use, some heavy language, and some questionable choices. I was very pleased that it did avoid nudity, as so many lower budget horror films feel the need to toss some nudity in at some point.

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