Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Thanks for nothing!
There was once a time where if you would have asked me if I liked the found footage genre, I would have shouted a firm, “yes!” When the genre was new, there was just something so unique about it, and so realistic, that no matter the subgenre, you could believe it. Why? Well, when I was a kid, all I ever did was carry around a camera and film random things, so I could connect really well with the perspective. Now that The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity graced the silver screen, all we see from the horror genre are these found footage nonsense, and it has gotten way out of hand. This time around, we have Absence, a film pretty much about alien abduction, but that’s just one interpretation.
This film opens up in a hospital, where Liz (Erin Way) has just learned she lost her baby at seven months pregnant. What I’m trying to say is, she literally…lost it…misplaced it. She woke up and wasn’t pregnant anymore. People are after her because they believe she is lying about actually having an abortion, but she swears it’s true. So she, her husband, and her brother seclude themselves out in a…cabin in the woods…to get away and relax. Her brother, of course, is documenting the whole thing for a school project…likely story. In the cabin, things begin to get a little strange…okay…not really.
Absence is absent of any substance whatsoever. While I could appreciate not just showing the entity that stalked them, I couldn’t in good taste appreciate these actors having a fun time throughout the entire movie. Sure, any horror film starts out with some young folks partying and having a good time, laughing about whatever, but by at least a half hour into the movie, things get serious. Things get dark…the tone changes. The tone in this movie…is light throughout. All it is…is just these people having fun in a cabin in the woods. When it did get into the mysterious parts, it’s only for a split second, and it’s back to the fun! How in the world is this film even categorized under horror/thriller? It’s mostly comedy!
The acting is also not all that great. This is a major disappointment, considering the fact that it really doesn’t take all that much to act in these movies. The first shot of this film is a guy crying into the camera, and it looks fake. In fairness, that is the worst the acting typically gets in the movie, but at the same time, it doesn’t get a whole lot better either.
Next, found footage genre is typically also called shaky-cam. I never had an issue with shaky cam before, I honestly thought it just added to the realism, seeing how average people aren’t professional cameramen, but the shakiness in this movie is just absurd. All the way up, all the way down, all the way up…this crap is stupid when you can’t even tell what you’re looking at. It’s not really that difficult to do found-footage wrong, but they somehow managed to do that wrong too.
I will say that the premise to Absence is really cool, and something I have never seen before. A baby in a womb vanishing? The beginning of the film mentioned cesarean theft, which again…I’ve never heard of…why didn’t the movie just make it simple and original, and do it on cesarean theft? That would have been a really cool mystery. Instead, they went the cliché route, and did alien abduction. Then, even though they had abduction set in stone, they completely wasted every bit of their remaining potential by just having the actors play around the whole time. That’s great.
Honestly, I don’t know what they were thinking. Who in their right mind would watch this film and say, “Hey! What a great film! I’m totally going to buy this”? Stay away folks, don’t be lured in by the promising concept. Wait until they really figure out how to approach the concept. Until then…peace out!
Absence comes to Blu-Ray and DVD on Aug. 5!