The main thing that attracted me to Absentia was the story, a tale of an unseen creature with slight Lovecraftian undertones that prowls a tunnel in an American city. A woman struggling with the disappearance of her husband and the decision of declaring him dead is visited by her estranged sister who brings a couple of skeletons of her own, namely substance abuse. They try to rekindle their broken relationship and all seems to go well. Until the husband shows up on her doorstep just days after his death certificate is approved by the authorities. He does not remember (or maybe doesn’t want to) where he has been and all of this is somehow connected to the tunnel, and the legends of other disappearances throughout the ages.
I really wanted to like this movie a lot. I really did. Some things work well, mainly the mood and the atmosphere surrounding the tunnel and what may dwell in there but unfortunately there are other things that really don’t bring this movie into the experience I wanted it to. The main problem is the story; too much time is focused on the relationship between the characters. The actors do a decent enough job with this, a lot of the dialogue seems ad-libbed and while the interactions might feel true, they're not just that interesting in a movie about a creature that hides in the dark waiting for humans to snatch. The creature bits work better, especially towards the end when the movie finally ditches all the drama and brings some nicely moody horror into all of this. I won’t go as far as to say that this in any kind of a failure, Mike Flanagan does a good job directing his own script but it feels somewhat unfocused. Maybe the story would have been better suited for a straight on creature feature? But then it would have been an entirely different movie and that was probably not what the filmmakers wanted. See this if you like slow burning moodpieces, I suspect that my disappointment comes from me expecting something entirely different based on the namedropping of Lovecraft in a couple of reviews and the very melodramatic dvdcover that makes this look like a movie it really isn't. Final words - Somewhat flawed but still interesting.