Production Year: 2011
Release Date: 07/07/2014
Studio: Second Sight

Earlier this year Mike Flanagan's Oculus made a pretty decent splash in the independent film world. While I didn't get a chance to catch the film in theaters (something I'm planning on rectifying when it hits home video) I was more than happy to take a look at one of his earlier film's when I got the opportunity. In most common law jurisdictions a missing person can be declared dead in absentia (or "legally dead") after seven years.

Callie (Katie Parker) has finally accepted that her missing husband is gone for good. It's been a long seven years since his initial disappearance and a lot has changed. Callie is now pregnant, living with her sister, and about to close that chapter of her life. There's just one small issue, now that her husband Daniel (Morgan Peter Brown) has been declared legally dead Callie has been seeing apparitions. You can also imagine how awkward it must be when she finally decides to cut loose and go out on a date only to discover her ghost like husband is waiting outside and covered in blood. Is he dead or alive? Where has been? Was he taken against his will? His seven year absence has left a lot of questions and unfortunately he's a little too malnurtured to answer any of them. Could he some how be tied in with all of the local thefts and disappearances? What about that creepy tunnel near Callie's house?

On a small budget director Mike Flanagan was able to craft a pretty solid film about death, loss, and the paranormal. The film manages to keep the viewer engaged throughout, wondering what lurks in the tunnel and if Callie's long lost husband is truly alive or some wicked spectre.  Flanagan's film does feel uneven on occasion, some of this is budgetary, some due to amatuer acting. Even with these faults Absentia manages to be a completely enjoyable paranormal outing with a good story and some decent jumps.

The PQ/AQ is standard for a newer film; things look and sound great.  There's a ton of detail visible in the film and while the color is desaturated this was clearly a personal choice by Flanagan.  It's a very morose looking film which adds to the overall tone of the flick.

Audio Commentary - Director Mike Flanagan and producers Morgan Peter Brown, Joe Wicker and Justin Gordon.

Audio Commentary - Director Mike Flanagan and cast members Katie Parker, Courtney Bell, Dave Levine, and Doug Jones.

Absentia: A Retrospective' documentary (33:15 HD) - A short featurette regarding the production of the film.

Camera Test Teaser (01:16 HD) - Just a short teaser that was created in order to test out the digital camera used to make the film.

Deleted Scenes (05:09 HD) - Three deleted scenes separated by chapter stops.

There's no denying the overwhelming amount of paranormal films coming out these days.  It's clear a lot of this is owed to the success of the Paranormal Activity series of films.  With that said, it's refreshing to see an original story set in that world that's not found footage.  I look forward to seeing to seeing future films by Mike Flanagan, I think the best has yet to come.

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