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Absence: DVD review

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Therapy to recover from a devastating loss can be lengthy, expensive and an additional chance of trauma to an already damaged piece of the psyche, and for a couple of prospective parents in the movie ABSENCE, their idea of "therapy" is the worst possible choice anyone could make.....and we as the viewer fall into that group as well.

In a world of cinematic found-footage movies that have seemed to overwhelm the masses (whether we want them or not), there appears to be a stuck-in-the-mud formula that is being used incessantly and it goes something like this. Take 2 or 3 different characters traveling to a specific destination, where 1 of the characters is that annoying weasel who would rather watch the victims of an accident writhe in pain through the eye of his camera rather than put it down and assist with help - NUMEROUS night shots where unfortunately not much can be seen, and when we do have a clear visual, it's formatted via the shakiest visuals that will have you reaching for the nausea medication. Most importantly, the buildup - how's about 60-70 minutes of interaction between the characters, almost like watching one of those wretched home movies we were forced to watch during a visit to a relative's house back in the day ?

Director Jimmy Loweree had quite the interesting premise for this movie, Erin Way (Liz) & Eric Matheny (Rick) are a wedded couple that have just suffered the loss of their unborn child, the only problem is....the child is GONE. Not a miscarriage, not a failed delivery.....JUST GONE. One minute in the womb, next minute POOF....history. So, in an attempt to try and maintain some semblance of normalcy, they decide to take a trip to a cabin in the mountains.....and take along Liz's brother. Ryan Smale (Evan) is an aspiring filmmaker, and apparently cannot walk a straight line without his mini-cam documenting every conceivable moment of the day, and while his compassion towards is sister is overwhelming, his apparent disdain for her husband is transparent to the core. He's kind of like the annoying little brother that pokes and prods at the older brother until Big Bro has enough and stuffs Little Bro into a very tiny space. Character-wise, my hat was off to Rick for not making Evan attain the ability to shoot footage out of his colon, because that's where the camera would have been found if he annoyed me the same way.

Not exactly the best way to try to get over a terrible loss of a child is it ? To have your immature little brother not only pestering your husband, but sitting you down in a pseudo-therapy situation to get your feelings on the loss of your unborn baby isn't high on the remedial-treatment scale. Throw in that mysterious woman in town that Evan brings back to the cabin and we now have a full-scale party of unsuspecting victims ripe for the picking. Odd breaks in camera footage occur and we view quick flashes of things in the woods at night (strange multicolored lights) to tip us off that our quartet is definitely not alone. I feel it necessary to stop with the play by play now, and let the audience judge for itself - and don't get me wrong here, this is not a complete bashing of the film, there are some creepy visuals towards the end.....you just have to get there first.

The idea of what is happening is terrifying, and Loweree gives it his all in a presentation from a low-budget standpoint (not too bad really.) - The story has its holes and some scenes drag on a little too long, but the payoff is fairly continent. I'm not terribly sure this has much replay value, but if you are into formulaic found-footage movies, this one is at least worth a rental.

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Updated 08-15-2013 at 05:54 PM by bronxtko

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