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The Absent

by

Jeff Nelson

...it's undeniably one of the better flicks of the sub-genre.

The Absent
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When a film is low-budget, it loses interest with many audiences. Films such as Avatar and Transformers make some moviegoers uncomfortable to see a movie without mind-blowing special FX. This holds true for horror fans, as well. Visual FX have made many cinema-lovers not appreciate smaller movies that have more beneath the surface.

Vincent, a High School science teacher, falls for his student, Katie Anderson, after their team wins the state science olympiad competition. His twin brother, Oscar, returns to town after serving 25 years in jail for killing their parents. Katie's friends begin to disappear and Vincent knows his brother is involved. The brothers face off in a battle to the end. The screenplay manages to take a simple 80's style slasher flick and turn it into something a bit more. There are moments that bring original concepts to the table. Such as in the beginning of the movie where Oscar's parents are attempting to kill him in several different ways, but never quite able to pull it off. As the story unfolds, characters begin to develop, but some are killed off before the audience gets to know much about them. There are a few scenes that feel unnecessary and don't add much to the movie. This includes some of quick dialogue being exchanged in a few scenes, but they don't take away from the movie.

Not all of the actors are known directly, but a couple are siblings of a more known actress. They are known only as Yvonne Zima and Vanessa Zima, sisters of Madeline Zima ( The Collector and Heroes). Other actors are Samuel Ball, Bryan Kirkwood, Jennifer Blanc, and Kelly B. Eviston. For a group of actors who aren't famous, they're able to express their characters quite well. There are a few lines of dialogue that come off as superficial, but each actor holds their own. There are a couple cringe-worthy acting moments. One involves Matthew Josten, Oscar as a child, being electrocuted. There aren't many of these awkward scenes and the overall performances are acceptable.

Given that this film is low budget, the look is affected. However, this adds to the film. The contrast and brightness give an older horror flick-type vibe. It has a gritty appearance that gives this film the atmosphere it needs. The locations are great and contribute even further to the feel of the film. There's some nice camera work used throughout.

For those who are used to seeing phenomenal FX and high budgets, it will take time to get used to this type of filming style, but doesn't take long. This film will keep your attention throughout. It's something that you don't see every day and is worth viewing once it's available. The Absent isn't for everyone, but for those who enjoy the style, it's undeniably one of the better flicks of the sub-genre.

My Rating = Two and One Half Stars

Next movie: The Book of Eli
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