The Absent is certainly a curious film in its interplay of reality and fiction. On one hand, it is a mildly interesting and particularly average slasher film. There is minimalistic nudity, and some gore of minor intrigue. The killer is a darkly-dressed man who is related to the main character who began killing at a young age, who uses a knife. So, average. And yet, that is not all there is to the story. I have (fond?) memories of logging on to my Facebook account and seeing about three or four notifications that, yes, The Absent has been released, The Absent has been released, The Absent is on Netflix, and finally, The Absent has been released. Sage Bannick and the creators of The Absent have outdone themselves! The Absent is the most advertised horror movie in all of existence.
So, Oscar is a young boy who lives with his mom, his brother Vincent, and his stepdad. One day, after apparently being zapped by touching a light-switch, he decides to kill his mother and stepfather with rat poison. He goes to jail for a few decades. And then Vincent grows up to be a teacher. Oscar leaves prison to start killing people again, and he seems to be killing kids in Vincent’s science class, for some dark purpose. Then there’s the whole deal where it turns out Vincent might be the killer. Or something like that.
One detail that comes up in the grand story of The Absent is actually how little time it spends on the killer until the end. We have teenagers, and we have horny teenagers. That’s an indicator that stuff really isn’t going to move along until the last half-hour, killing wise. Someone at least knew their Halloween (what with the killer starting out when he was a kid and all) and they probably knew their Friday the 13th and maybe even their Final Exam. This is a high-school era slasher movie done almost right.
The reason I say “almost” is because there is some sort of tiny flaw in the whole of things. And I’m not saying that to be nitpicky. I’m not entirely sure if it’s the fact that the scenes involving the teens takes too long; and I’m not sure if it’s the fact that all the teenage characters are seemingly bisexual sluts, who are obsessed with drama and getting in everyone else’s pants. There’s just something that feels distinctively artificial about the lives of the kids, taken from my perspective, which is, currently, that of a high school student. I don’t know how old Sage Bannick is, but that could be something to take into account. (No offense, Sage, trust me.) Then again, high school teens are always inaccurately portrayed in slasher films, it seems. Could it be perhaps that this is the first teen slasher that I’ve seen that has everyone follow the whole “teen slut” archetype? It’s possible. Usually there’s at least one sensitive virgin who survives the whole mess. But that’s the thing with The Absent. No one survives.
I just get the sense that there should be some kind of plot hole in the entire thing, but there isn’t. And it’s not like I’m deeming the plot hole necessary because I’m nurtured on trash. It’s because I get the impression that the flaw is hiding. It’s not disguised by the director; it’s hiding of its own accord. There is something just—wrong—with it, and I don’t know why. And I don’t mean to nitpick; I know that it sounds like I am.
Unless the whole thing can be tracked back to the fact that it doesn’t seem to have anything that makes it outstanding as a slasher. Though there may be a ghost going about.
I realize that I’m sounding very vitriolic towards this movie, but I don’t mean to—I’m just annotating the weird vibes I got when I was watching it and thinking about this review. That’s all I really have, in the end, is what I feel when viewing. So, in summary—I think people should get it out. Bloody hell, it’s an indie horror film! And we should all do our part for stuff like that. And it’s the most advertised film of all time! And we should definitely pitch in for such a project.