Absence

If you are the kind of person who frequents IMDB reviews of obscure horror movies because you can’t remember which obscure horror movie you have to blog about next or how it goes, then you’ll recognise Absence as a bit of a contentious film in the IMDB reviewosphere. (I’m assuming that, like blogosphere, you can just add “-osphere” to the end of stuff and it sounds academically internetty because THE FUTURE IS NOW.) Most of the reviews are of the “dumb shaky found footage dumb slow boring stupid dumb NO CHAINSAWS BORING DUMB” variety, with a smattering of ten-star “YOU PLEBS JUST DON’T *GET* IT” every so often.

And here’s what I think.

YOU PLEBS JUST. DON’T.

GET IT.

Let us return to the found footage discussion that I started somewhere back in the 100 Ghost Street times. Found footage is easy to make. It’s cheap. It was insanely popular after the advent of Paranormal Activity and is therefore “trending” which is something that movie producers like. This means that there are approximately one zillion shitty found footage horror movies made by shitty film students who just wanted to be able to film something in three hours and then sell it to Netflix. (By the way, Netflix, stop that.) So I get it. 99% of found footage sucks and has no actual reason for the footage that is found to have been filmed in the first place. (By the way, everyone, STOP THAT.)

HOWEVER. Good found footage can be subtle, realistic, and can demand the viewer’s attention with a whisper rather than a big gorey bloody shout (cough 100 Ghost Street Gacy House every Asylum film cough cough). Good found footage can make for a seriously scary horror film, which is why I unapologetically love the genre and EVERYONE IS DUMB AND WHINY FOR HATING ON IT. SHAKE IT OFF, FOUND FOOTAGE. SHAKE, SHAKE IT OFF. (I don’t really know what the pop music is popping these days. Do people still like Taylor Swift? I’m old.)

Absence is about a pregnant woman whose baby disappears from her womb and doctors have no idea how it happened or where it went. (Aliens.) Her husband takes her and her brother out to the middle of the woods to take her mind off things, where there are a series of mysterious events and weird townspeople. (Aliens.) Every night the brother records footage of lights and the house rattling and he and his sister and her husband screaming, but in the morning everyone has apparently forgotten that anything has happened. (ALIENS.)

The plot progresses slowly and the supernatural (alien) elements are few and far between, but the acting is pretty great and the simplicity of the plot allows you to care about the few people onscreen and to really want to pay attention to figure out what’s going on (BY WHICH I MEAN WHEN THE ALIENS ARE COMING BACK). It also dealt with the pretty touchy subject matter of what is essentially miscarriage in a very effective way. And I liked that it moved slowly. And I liked when they chose to make the camera work excessively shaky. I liked that sometimes the camera wasn’t pointed at anything in particular while important dialogue is happening. Because these were all choices rather than just the easiest way to make the film. Absence is a well-constructed found footage film and any horror fans who like a slow burn will love it.

AND ANY WHINY BITCHES ON IMDB ARE JUST WHINY BITCHES WHO WHINE AND BITCH. (Parenthesis)

Suck it IMDBitches….FOUR HORRORS.

Also, aliens, why you gotta take the babies that people WANT. If you were smarter about picking out fetuses you could just take the “oh shit” ones or the ones who will probably end up psychopaths and you could end the whole abortion debate for us AND take Future Hitler to the planet Serpo and raise him up all nice. Come on, aliens. Get it together.

Or just pick the ones that look like this.
I DON’T WANT THIS.
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Absence

Abandoned Mine

Oh god this one.

Welcome to our very first teen scream film! And it starts out with a montage of two high school girls trying on seventy Halloween costumes to some generic pop song, so you know it’s the real deal. Get ready, kids.

Five high school students decide to spend Halloween in ***spoiler alert*** AN ABANDONED MINE where a father killed all his daughters or a family died or was murdered or something. The group consists of Fucking Brad, the football star who makes everyone go to the mine because YOU’RE NOT A BUNCH OF PUSSIES ARE YOU, Fat Kid who is Fucking Brad’s friend and likes to party hard bro, Indian Guy who is a foreign exchange student from India who used to work in a call center and just doesn’t get American jokes isn’t that hilarious!, and Generic Girls 1 and 2, one of whom is Fucking Brad’s current girlfriend (we’ll call her Generic Girl 1) and the other who is Fucking Brad’s ex, and yes, there is no other way to define these generic girls other than by their man, because they are lady women and therefore cannot define themselves.

Fucking Brad drags everyone to the ABANDONED MINE and even encourages them to wear headset cameras because “we can make a film about surviving the ABANDONED MINE!” which is a loose translation of the director’s “people still think these found footage things are trending, right?” And then Indian Guy says some things that are just SO FUNNY because he doesn’t English good, and Fucking Brad and Fat Kid make some call center jokes because that’s all they know about India as their American high school education has let them disastrously down. Generic Girl 1 is beginning to suspect that Fucking Brad wants to get back together with Generic Girl 2 and also both of them are scared of the ABANDONED MINE because they are girls.

Then Fat Kid goes missing. Oh no, it looks like maybe Fat Kid is dead! Oh no, Fucking Brad appears to be dead! I think one of the Generic Girls goes missing too but no one cares which one!

But then……LOL IT WAS ALL A JOKE PUT ON BY FUCKING BRAD. HE MADE AN ELABORATE HALLOWEEN PRANK BECAUSE LOL EVERYONE IS PUSSIES EXCEPT ME, FUCKING BRAD!

Fucking.

Brad.

And then ghosts show up and kill everyone.

So, to recap, stereotypes are funny, high schoolers are dumb, women are dumb, jocks are dumb, fat kids are so fat, foreign exchange students exist purely to be mocked, and ghosts are super murdery. I guess. Also I think one of the Generic Girls went nuts and bit the head off a rat at one point which I remember because I love rats and prefer them with unbitten heads.

I mean….it’s……ugh. Whatever. I’m done now.

ONE HORROR.

Also, this is directly from the film's tumblr page. I....don't have a punchline.
Also, this is directly from the film’s tumblr page. I….don’t have a punchline.
Abandoned Mine

7 Below

Ah fuck, I forgot one.

Pretend this was sandwiched in between 23:59 and 8213: Gacy House.

AH, NOW WE HAVE COME TO THE NUMBER 7! Such order, much remembering, very alphabet.

Except that there’s a good reason I forgot this film exists and that reason is because it is forgettable. But not forgettable in a low budget anonymous Asylum sort of way. 7 Below is forgettable in the way that only truly professional studios can produce when they grab a handful of actors who used to mean something and shove them into the Happy Meal version of a horror movie where the story is the slurry of useless bird corpse parts and cheap additives that you are willing to accept as “chicken” and Val Kilmer is the small plastic choking hazard that resembles a “toy” and somehow makes you decide to think of the whole experience as a meal, if only for the thirty seconds it takes you to eat it before you reconsider.

Sadly, however, 7 Below takes a solid two hours to consume, even though you’re still only convinced that it is good enough for about the first thirty seconds. I guess the rest of it is the Happy Meal McShits you get afterwards. I’m losing track of this analogy. I think I’m saying just don’t watch this movie.

7 Below is about a busload of strangers who are stuck in hurricane conditions and have to abandon the bus to seek shelter in a creepy house kept by a creepy man in a creepy place! Val Kilmer is a guy on the bus. Ving Rhames is the creepy man. Those are the two things that allow you to suspend your disbelief long enough to click play, and then you realise the mistake you’ve made.

It’s not HORRIBLE, it’s just lame and pointless. The busload of strangers find out that a kid killed his whole family in the house and then they find out that the creepy man is creepy and then they turn on each other and then something something reincarnation endless cycle history repeats itself blah blah Val Kilmer’s career. By the end of it you just feel like you’ve wasted a couple hours of your life and you feel kinda bad for everyone involved in making the movie. And then you move on with your life and go on to forget to review it entirely because it was taken off Netflix and now may as well not exist. Eh. Meh.

….TWO HORRORS.

Now let's go back to pretending this is all we know of Val Kilmer.
Now let’s go back to pretending this is all we know of Val Kilmer.
7 Below

ABCs of Death

WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN THE PERFECT NAME FOR THIS BLOG but whatever I’m not bitter and am clearly over it.

Welcome to the letters portion of the alphabet! (I bet you thought the whole alphabet was letters but you forgot about the “shitty sequential dates and times” portion of the alphabet. Sucker.) ABCs of Death is a horror anthology comprised of 26 short films by 26 different directors. Each director was given a letter of the alphabet and told to chose any one word starting with that letter to be the title of the short, as long as it involved death. And because this is the kind of creative project that only smart, talented, and dedicated people can make, THIS IS ACTUALLY A GOOD FILM.

Films.

Film.

The filmses range from the creepy to the comedic to the disturbing and some truly awesome directors made contributions. Plus you get to play the game where you guess what the title will be because they don’t give it to you until the end of the short, which makes for an excellent drinking game hint hint.

This film is so good and interesting and such a smart concept, you guys. And it’s hard to tell you any more without spoiling something. In fact I kinda want to just stop writing this and watch it again. Also there’s an ABCs of Death 2 that I haven’t seen and I need to and maybe will right now.

This film gets……FIVE HORRORS!!!

That’s the maximum number of allowable horrors!!!

Also sorry this post wasn’t super funny – it’s hard when the film is good. Don’t despair, I’m sure the next one will be awful because 85% of them are. Stay with me.

Here's a banana that's shaped like a penis. It's funny because penises are funny. I AM TRYING.
Here’s a banana that’s shaped like a penis. It’s funny because penises are funny. I AM TRYING.
ABCs of Death