So usually Netflix Streaming horror that is “recommended” to me are HUGE disappointments. Today I’d like to talk about a less disappointing installation of my slugged-out horror viewing life: Absentia. Now, SPOILER WARNING: I am going to discuss a few plot elements that some may prefer not to know, but I won’t be revealing the entire kit n’ caboodle (dude, remember Caboodles? OH EM GEE SUCH A NINETIES KID!!)
The movie was a very indie production, partly financed by the website Kickstarter, and did not suffer at all from its low budget. The director, Mike Flanagan, did a really good job of creating the “terror” that Stephen King defines as (paraphrased) the type of fear generated when you know there is something there but you don’t see it. While it still has a few cheap jump scares, I don’t think it suffers for that. Plus: dirty shameful secret time–I kind of love a good jump scare, no matter how cheap. To be fair, however, the jump scares don’t take away from the quality of the narrative, and are not used to compensate for a bad movie. So maybe that’s why I like them so much in this case.
Absentia is about Tricia and Callie, a couple of sisters who are recovering from a rough period in their lives. Tricia is trying to move on from the disappearance of her husband, Daniel, who has been missing for seven years. Callie is a recovering drug addict who is trying to support her sister during a rough time and make amends for her past behavior. Tricia is doing the paperwork to have Daniel declared “dead in absentia” (hey that’s the name of the movie!) and, oh, is also extremely pregnant. She hallucinates about Daniel appearing to her, disheveled and angry about her pregnancy, on an almost nightly basis. Callie is an avid runner and often runs through a foot-path that tunnels underneath the highway. One day she comes across a vagrant-type (though we as viewers know there is something way deeper going on than vagrancy) in the tunnel who begs her for help. She brings food back to the tunnel for him later, and then starts to discover strange things in her house. Like a big pile of old-fashioned keys. Which I kind of get but also not really.
Later you find out about a number of disappearances in the neighborhood throughout its history, and there is a way more pressing feeling of danger to the main characters. Nobody is safe, and it manages to convey terror without too much gore. The actors, for as indie as they are, are not terrible, and the characters are believable in the way they deal with their baggage. And this movie is aaaall about baggage. And it’s also about the Three Billie Goats Gruff. Which is both an obvious plot key and an ambiguous one at the same time and manages to add major creepiness. Major.
Also, I think it’s really awesome that horror fans were a major contributor to getting this film off the ground. This is how we get better movies. This is how America takes back the actually SCARY supernatural film instead of that “unfinished business/feel good/go to the other side” ghost BS.
THE BEER: Heretic Worry
Photos on other blogs seem to indicate that I should drink this out of a tulip glasses but I, obviously, am a naughty naughty rebel for drinking it from a chalice instead. I enjoyed some Heretic “Worry” Ale that I think is a good pairing along with Absentia: unique, unusual, and surprisingly enjoyable.
This is good stuff, my psychic friends. Apple juice on the nose, and a total holiday on the tongue. It had this tingly straight-to-the-nasal-cavity cider. The fruit was pungent, but not summery fruit, nor sparkling cider. No ma’am. this type of fruit is dried in the bag for a backpacking trip or fermented in a bucket outside to hang out waiting to be distilled into rocket fuel. Some of that sulfuric funk probably comes from the fact that it is aged in Chardonnay bottles. It’s like a leftover Waldorf salad two days after Thanksgiving. And I mean this in the best way possible. Funny how things that sound less than desirable to eat in real life are orgasmic when in alcoholic form? Love this stuff. A+. My only remark that could be construed as criticism (though it isn’t, really) is that if you are in the mood for a BEER, this isn’t it. This is the perfect beer for hardcore wine lovers and adventurous beer lovers, though.