Review: Absence / Cert: TBC / Director: Jimmy Loweree / Screenplay: Jimmy Loweree, Jake Moreno / Starring: Erin Way, Eric Matheny, Ryan Smale / Release Date: TBC
What better way to recover from the traumatic loss of an unborn child than to head to a remote cabin with your husband and horrible brother? And what better way to make the experience even more awful than recording everything on your handheld camera? Goody, it's another found footage movie.
Doctors are baffled when pregnant lady Liz's nearly-to-term baby suddenly disappears overnight. To aid her recovery, her husband and brother take her out to a lovely cabin in the middle of nowhere. Because that worked out so well for the bereaved of Antichrist and drug addict of Evil Dead. Hiding out at a cabin in the woods (or wilderness, in this case) is always a terrible idea. “Why is it that every time we're in the cabin in the woods, weird stuff happens?” Quite. Even more so when you bring your video camera with you.
Like most found footage horror movies, Absence is ninety percent build-up and ten percent action. While there are much worse subgenre pieces out there, this one isn't interested in re-inventing the wheel. It's slow, boring and populated with terribly annoying characters. Why, when your sister and brother-in-law have just lost their unborn child in awful circumstances, would you insist on being such a dick to them? It just perpetuates the found footage cliché that the most abhorrent character is always the one carrying the camera. It takes a special kind of arse to continue filming in the face of terror and tragedy. The characters of found footage horror films are the sort you find recording suicide bids and fatal car accidents on their iPhones in the street. While there is some schadenfreude in that these characters typically get a comeuppance of some sort, their adventures rarely make for enjoyable viewing.
That's a shame, since Absence has a very intriguing central mystery, a good cast and some level of technical competence. Were it not for the fact that nothing actually seems to happen for most of the run-time (beyond a camera effect that worked better in V/H/S) Absence could have been very good. Sadly, this isn't the case. The only Absence here is of originality.