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.



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.


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.

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