Tuesday, April 24, 2012



Label: Chemical Burn Entertainment
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 75 mins
Director: Brian Crow, Walter Ruether
Cast: Calico Cooper, Cara Moody , Werner

Synopsis: Scarlet Fry takes you on the thrill of your life with: Blood Thirsty Cannibals, Satanic Zombies, Demented Nurses, Junkie Serial Killers, Freaky Perverts and More! This Blood Drenched Deluxe Horrorfest isn’t for the weak at heart. A drug dealer has made his last deal after he decides to hand a junkie serial killer (Calico Cooper) some bad junk. This junk is, in fact, a video tape entitled "Junkfood Horrorfest." This horror anthology, hosted by Scarlet Fry, features six twisted tales that kick off when the junkie and her new found friend decide to watch the tape. Little does her friend know how much trouble he’s in for. Get ready for a blood drenched, deluxe horrorfest that isn’t for the weak at heart. Twisted tales that will turn your stomach and send you crying for Mommy!      

My love of the horror anthology began with classic Sunday monster movie matinee showings of the Amicus horror anthologies Tales from the Crypt (1972) and The Vault of Horror (1973) on TV - these creepy documents of 70's macabre were hosted by mysterious figures and their chill and inherent camp kept me rapt as a 10 year old boy. The format continued to entertain me through the 80's and 90's with horror collections like the Creepshow (1982), Cat's Eye (1985) and Tales from the Darkside (1990) which was based on  the beloved by me long running TV series. The omnibus format dried up a bit in the nineties but the new millennium brought with it quite a few tasty fright collections including the Korean export Three... Extremes (2004) and the new Halloween classic Trick R. Treat (2009).  We were also treated to less polished indie features like Drive-In Horrorshow (2009) and Slices of Life (2010) which while lo-fi were ripe with idea, wit and gore. Then just last year Camp Motion Pictures resurrected the "lost" Super 8mm anthology film The Basement (1989), a rough and amateurishly assembled throwback to the Amicus films of the 70's featuring some great gore and a passion for the macabre. There can be little doubt that the anthology is back so lets see how this stacks up.

The anthology film in question tonight is Scarlet Fry's Junkfood Horrorfest (2011) from Chemical Burn Entertainment hosted by Scarlet Fry (Walter Ruether). It opens with a pre-credit sequence of a woman itching for a fix of heroin which she attempts to score from a  dealer who's strung out himself next to a dumpster in an alleyway. The junkie-dealer stiffs her with VHS cassette stuffed inside a paper bag. Not the black tar she was craving she returns with a tire iron in hand and beats him to a bloody pulp. Role opening credits and we're then introduced to our host Scarlet Fry, a rather poorly conceived horror host of sorts who goes on to introduce the six shorts that comprise the film and right from the start the dialogue is pretty bad. It's not witty or clever  in that lovable Cryptkeeper sorta way just eye-rolling awful.

The six shorts aren't so much stories as half-developed ideas that aren't fleshed out or developed in even a shallow way. We begin with The Blood-Thirsty Butcher wherein an obese man living in an apartment complex finds his fridge empty and just sorta resorts to cannibalism without explanation. In The Solution we meet a nurse who wishes to to end her employment with a wheelchair-bound invalid with the help of a sniper. Griptape Spank features a group of skater-stoners who frequent a creepy perv in a parking garage to earn extra bucks with splattery consequences. Wasted Life quite simply documents the suicide of a man who's decided he wants to shuffle off this mortal coil sooner than later and in The Devil Made Me Do It a man is murdered during a Satanic ritual but returns a zombie to seek revenge against his killer. The final short Love is Blind is the best of the shabby bunch featuring a young woman who's just discovered she's with child and when she breaks the news to her less than enthused boyfriend. Tired of his douchebaggery she really tears into him. It's not great but when leveled against the rest of the shorts it's not bad and features some decent low-budget gore including a gruesome eyeball extraction.

The DVD comes with a few special features including one of Scarley Fry's earlier anthologies Horrorama (1990) which I liked even less and Scarlet Fry's horror host presentation of the seminal cult classic Carnival of Souls (1962) which is a fantastically eerie film that influenced George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968) and is well worth a watch.  

Special Features:
- Scarlet Fry's Horrorama
- Scarlet Fry's presentation of Carnival of Souls

Verdict: I just didn't care much for Scarlet Fry's Junkfood Horrorfest. It's an amateurish anthology entry. I can tolerate no-budget filmmaking but these shorts that were barely stories - more a collection of uninspired half-formed ideas. Not helping is the rather uninteresting host/framing device. It's really hard to recommend this when you could watch far superior indie anthologies like Drive-In Horrorshow or Slices of Life or any of the films mentioned anywhere else in this review. Skip it. 1.5 outta 5

Friday, April 20, 2012

Blu-ray Review: THOU SHALT NOT KILL... EXCEPT (1985)

Blu-ray/DVD Combo
Label: Synapse Films
Region: All Regions
Duration: 83 minutes
Rating: Unrated
Video: 16:9 Widescreen (1.66:1)
Audio: English DTS-HD 2.0 Mono, Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
Director: Josh Becker
Cast: Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi, Scott Spiegel, Brian Schulz

Tagline: When Violence Demands Revenge

Synopsis: Vietnam, 1969. War is Hell. For Marine Sergeant Jack Stryker (Brian Schulz), however, Hell is just the beginning. Trapped outside a Viet Cong village, Stryker takes two bullets to the leg. Sent home from the war, he discovers his ex-girlfriend (Cheryl Hausen) has been kidnapped by a religious cult with a vicious Manson-like leader (played by The Evil Dead and Spider-Man trilogy director, Sam Raimi). Stryker teams up with some marine friends to form an assassination squad and annihilate the gang of crazed killers.

Thou Shalt Not Kill... Except (1985) is a pretty obscure mid-80' low-budget grinder that kicks off in right in the thick of 'Nam '69 where we meet the cigar chompin' Sgt. Jack Stryker (Brian Schulz) and his small band of Marines. With the assistance of some well-placed stock-footage 'Nam inserts the backwoods of Michigan are transformed into a 'Nam jungle, sorta. The visual trickery is not 100% successful but the effort on the part of the filmmakers is appreciated and quite a bit more successful than the plastic rat we catch a glimpse of. The small band of soldiers find themselves miserably outnumbered and are mowed down in a hail of bullets and explosions. It's full-on high energy excitement with lots of fiery explosions and gruesome violence which includes splattery gunshot wounds and a brutal punji trap through the chest. During the assault Sgt. Stryker takes two crippling gunshots to the leg ending his military career. In the ensuing weeks Stryker partially recovers from his injuries and is discharged from the military returning to his small town life in the States and to his rustic cabin in the woods where he eeks out a living with his dog "Whiskey". Picking up the pieces of his civilian life he starts to rekindle a romance with his high school sweetheart Sally (Cheryl Hansen), things are starting to look up for the Vet until Cheryl's kidnapped by a religious cult of bloodthirsty hippies lead by a maniacal nut played with delicious fervor by none other than director Sam Raimi (Evil Dead, Spider-Man).

For me the highlight and star of this exploitation nugget would have to be Raimi as the truly bug-nuts insane cult leader who believes himself to be the rebirth of Jesus Christ. A delirious and obvious riff on Charles Manson - it's just amazing to watch and a ton of fun. He's chewing on the scenery in a way that just suits this lo-fi grinder to perfection, worth the price of admission on it's own.

Stryker is joined in his war on the blood cult by his military buddies; "Love Machine" (Timothy Patrick Quill, the blacksmith from Army of Darkness), Sgt. Jackson (Robert Rickman, a former Mr. T impersonator), Lt. Miller (John Manfredi, Real Steel) who just happen to arrive on scene to visit their  former Lt. and they're a fun bunch of guys. Before they arrive at the cabin they find themselves in the company of a trio of jail bait they pick-up outside a liquor store followed by some sleazy backseat shenanigans and then right into a biker bar where a full-on brawl  spills out to the back alleyway, it's fun stuff and is the perfect b-movie filler to pad out the film until they face off against the bloodthirsty hippies, surely it superfluous but it's entertaining.

The final showdown with the cult in the woods is pretty fantastic, an orgy of bloodletting and shotguns blasts with fun kills that are well-staged and executed with much spilled blood. Highlights include Stryker's beloved dog Whiskey skinned on a spit, some brutal shotgun blasts, impalement's and my personal favorite - death by lawn darts which is amazing!

Blu-ray: Synapse Films offers up Thou Shalt Not Kill... Except with an all-new 2K high-definition transfer from the original negative, painstaking restored and cleaned-up in the best possible way. This 16mm cult classic has never looked better and the restoration leaves the film's grain structure wonderfully intact, this is a grain-lovers paradise and a very fine example of how you restore a film without running it through the Digital Noise Reduction (DNR) wringer. Synapse are transfer pros and cinema devotees who fully appreciate the grain inherent in celluloid. The DTS-HD MA English and Dolby Digital English 2.0 Mono audio options are limited in their fidelity but sound pretty great with special mention to Joe LoDuca's great war-themed score, it's above and beyond what one might expect from a budget-strapped grinder.

Special features for this obscure cult classic are abundant beginning with my personal favorite feature, the original Super 8mm film Stryker's War, an early version of the film featuring none other than Mr. Big Chin himself Bruce Campbell (Army of Darkness) in the role of Jack Stryker, a role created for him but when the opportunity arose for director Josh Becker to film Thou Shalt Not Kill...Except he was unavailable to partake in the project. Definitely a loss for Campbell fans but fear not for we have this fine 8mm document. It's interesting to note that the filmmaker didn't stray to far from the 8mm original when scripting Thou Shalt Not Kill... Except.

Up next is Made In Michigan: The Making of Though Shalt Not Kill... Except (35:16) a mini-doc featuring interviews with director Josh Becker, producer (and director in his own right) Scott Spiegel, actors John Menfredi (Lt. Miller), Tim Quill (LCpl. Ttyler) , Robert Rickman (Sgt. Jackson), production assistant Brian Rae and Production manager David Goodman. Tons of tasty nuggets are discussed including the early super 8mm films, why Bruce Campbell did not return to reprise his role as Sgt. Stryker, the budget and the Joe LoDuca's fantastic score, which is pretty great. Whether your a newcomer to the film or a fan there's a ton to enjoy here.

We also have not one but two Audio Commentaries from director Josh Becker, actor Bruce Campbell and star Brian Schulz, Deleted Scenes, Alternate Title Sequence (1:19), a Theatrical Trailer and an on-camera Interview with Bruce Campbell (8:47) in his backyard discussing the filmmakers early 8mm films and the making of Stryker's War. As special features go this is perhaps above and beyond what this obscure title would demand but that's why I love Synapse; they love cult and exploitation cinema and if it's worth doing it's worth doing right and they do it right every time.
[Reversible Cover Art]
Special Features
•All-New High-Definition 2K Digital Restoration from the Original Negative
•The Original Super 8mm Short film, STRYKER’S WAR Short Film, starring Bruce Campbell! (48:16) 4:3
•Made in Michigan: The Making of THOU SHALT NOT KILL… EXCEPT - Featurette (31:56) 16:9
•Two Audio Commentaries Featuring Director Josh Becker, Bruce Campbell and Star Brian Schulz
•All-New Video Interview with Bruce Campbell (8:47) 16:9
•Deleted Scene with Optional Director’s Commentary (0:45) 16:9
•Alternate Title Sequence (1:19) 16:9
•Original Theatrical Trailer 16:9
•Reversible Cover Artwork

Verdict: Thou Shalt Not Kill...Except is a tasty nugget of amped-up mid-80's exploitation cinema that's a suitably gruesome and gritty affair well-stocked with moments of off-kilter humor pitting 'Nam vets against a bloodthirsty religious cult in the woods, it's just entertaining stuff. Obviously shot on a shoe-string budget but made with the same heart and lo-fi ingenuity we've seen from director Josh Becker's cohorts Sam Raimi (Evil Dead) and Scott Spiegel (Intruder), if you're a fan of either of those cult classics there's gonna be a ton to love with Thou Shalt Not Kill... Except. Great job from Synapse on the great special features and fantastic transfer which shouldn't be a surprise at all. 2.5 outta 5

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Blu-ray Review: THE DEADLY SPAWN [The Millennium Edition]

Millennium Edition

Label: Elite Entertainment
Region Code: A
Duration: 81 mins
Video: Fullscreen (1.33:1)
Audio: English LPCM 2.0
Director: Douglas McKeown
Cast: Charles George Hildebrandt, Tom DeFranco, Richard Lee Porter, Jean Tafler

Deadly Spawn (1983) is an early 80's slice of sci-fi schlock cinema that's stuffed with gore, camp and unintentional hilarity. The story is quite simplistic:  a meteorite falls to Earth where it is found by two campers in a remote wooded area whom are torn to pieces by the toothsome alien parasite that arrived with it . The creature makes it's way into town where it finds shelter in the basement of a home and it's not long before the homeowners fall prey to it's toothy maw. The four remaining members of the household slumber completely unaware that an alien menace lays in waiting the basement.

The four remaining members of the home are a young teen named Charles, his older science-nerd brother Pete, their Aunt Mille and Uncle Herb. The character of Charles is a true horror nerd's horror nerd with a deep love of special effects and horror cinema. He's not far removed from Joey from Tobe Hooper's criminally underrated carnival-set slasher The Funhouse (1981) or Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman) which we would see just a year later in Joseph Zito's Friday the 13: The Final Chapter (1984).

As the film plays along the creature in the basement continues to grow with each new victim it consumes. While it grows it also unleashes hundreds of offspring that bare more than a passing resemblance to the chest-burster from Ridley Scott's Alien (1979). The slimy spermal offspring begin to wreak their own toothy menace within the house leading to a final showdown in the attic pitting the special effects wizardry of Charles against the main toothsome alien parasite.

The Deadly Spawn is a film assembled by people whom clearly did not possess a great deal of skill in front of or behind the camera. It's a rickety production from the top down with workman like cinematography, lacklustre editing, poor dialogue and sub-par acting but despite these technical deficits there's just something so damn charming about this film. 

The creature-design by John Dods (Black Roses, Monsters TV Series) is quite inspired,  a three-headed phallic hydra with row upon row of gruesome razor sharp teeth that ooze slime, it's terrific looking in every shot. Also super fun are the creature's spawn which slither across the floor, very cool lo-fi effects, great stuff. The gore is alsolow-budget but top notch with a some fantastic face shredding featuring the skin peeling right off the face and some gruesome decapitations, definitely low-budget gore done right.

There are some nice touches throughout including a chat between the Uncle (who's a pyschologist) and Charles as the uncle tries to understand the young boy's fascination with the macabe. I also enjoyed the use of miniatures during the films beginning and partricularly the ending, fun stuff that seemed to channel 1950's science fiction features like The Blob (1958) and Invaders from Mars (1952), fun stuff. The real hero of the film though is the creature design and bloody gore effects, outstanding.

While it's great to see this obscure 80's gore-classic get the high-definition treatment it's not really up to snuff in the audio and video department. Let's start with the transfer; it's been given an atomic-sized dose of Digital Noise Reduction (DNR) to the point that the 16mm grain of the film stock has all but disappeared leaving it pretty anemic looking in the fine detail department, visually it's a lacklustre affair and if you own the previous Synapse Films DVD edition which boasts a superior picture and includes an audio commentary with writer Tim Sullivan, director Douglas McKeown, actor Charles Hildebrandt, special effects artist John Dods, and executive producer Tim Hildebrandt which is not found here. Likewise the audio is unremarkable on every level, it's tinny and boxy with the audio dropping out completrely at one point for a split second.

Special Features: 
- Introduction with Ted A. Bohus (1:19)
- Audio Commentary  with Producer Ted A. Bohus and Editor Marc Harwood
- Effects Enhanced Opening Scene (4:43)
- Casting Tapes and Gag Reel (35:57) 
- Bloopers and Outtakes (4:56) 
- Local Television Coverage Footage (40:32) 
- "Take One" (24:58)  
- "Visit with the Deadly Spawn" (8:39)  
- Production and Promotional Still Photo Gallery (15:30)  
- Color Pages from the Upcoming Comic Book
- A Theatrical Trailer and a T.V. Spot (2:24) 
- Full Color Insert featuring Liner Notes by Producer Ted A. Bohus

Verdict: As a fan of 80's horror and schlock cinema I think you need The Deadly Spawn on your shelf, it's a gruesome low-budget alien-chomper that's surely inept but also pretty kick-ass. The poor transfer makes it hard for me to say this is worth an upgrade if you own the Synapse DVD but if you are currently without this in your collection and can pick it up on the cheap I say it's a no-brainer - get it because they just don't make 'em like this anymore.
 3 outta 5

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Blu-ray Review: RED SCORPION (1989)

Blu-ray/DVD Combo
Label: Synapse Films
Region: All Regions
Duration: 106 minutes
Rating: Unrated
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1,  DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo with Optional English Subtitles
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen (1.78:1)
Director: Joseph Zito
Cast: Dolph Lundgren, M. Emmet Walsh, Brion James

Synopsis: International action star Dolph Lundgren (Rocky IV, The Expendables) is Lt. Nikolai Rachenko, a Soviet Special Forces “killing machine” assigned to infiltrate an African rebel uprising and assassinate their anti-Communist leader. Taken into custody and tortured after the mission fails, he stages a harrowing prison escape. Befriended by an African bushman while on the run, Nikolai discovers he was fighting on the wrong side of this violent conflict all along. Nikolai finds the rebel army once more but, this time, he’s on their side and wages bloody war against his former comrades!

Going into this I was only familiar with director Joseph Zito's 80's slasher classics The Prowler (1981) and Friday the 13: The Final Chapter (1984) and not so much for his later Chuck Norris actioners Missing In Action (1984) and Invasion USA (1985) mostly because I just can't stand Norris and I don't really count myself as an action-film fan. That said I've always been really curious about Zito's body of work once he exited the horror genre after Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter and this sweet Blu-ray/DVD from Synapse was a great reason to finally jump in.

Fresh off his iconic turn as Ivan Drago in Rocky IV (1985) Dolph Lundgren stars in Red Scorpion as Russian killing machine Lt. Nikolai Rachennko, a Spetsnaz in the Soviet Special Forces, assigned to infiltrate and assasinate an anti-communist African leader during the Cold War. Towards that end a bar fight is staged by Lundgren as he clears out an entire bar of Soviet soldiers single-handedly which lands him in prison where he forms an alliance with a anti-Communist resistance fighter Kallunda Kintash (Al White) and an untrusting American war correspondent named Dewey Ferguson played by character actor M. Emmet Walsh (Blood Simple).

This is definitely a late-80's actioner that never fails to deliver what the action genre promises with the tons of blood-soaked action, gigantic fiery explosions, an unceasing spray of gunfire, fun set-pieces plus the African backdrop is a stunner. Tom Savini whom worked with Zito on both The Prowler and Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter has some decent effects work on display including a severed arm and long needles being pushed through Lundgren's bicep during a torture scene. The appearance of M. Emmet Walsh as the untrusting American journalist was pretty great and it was a brief appearance of Brion James (Bladerunner, The Fifth Element) as a brutal Soviet soldier.

Lundgren is a man of few words on-screen here and that's probably for the best. The man's got an engineering degree, he's no dummy for sure, but he's not exactly the most articulate action-hero the 80's had to offer. On-screen he's pretty much everything you want when it comes to ass-kicking and brutalizing commies. His hero's journey is maybe a bit harder to swallow but there's more than enough shit blowing up real nice to distract you from any acting shortcomings, this is afterall an 80's actioner.  

Alternate Artwork
Video: Synapse Films Blu-ray/DVD combo sports a brand-new 2K high-definition transfer of the uncensored version, containing footage never before seen in the U.S. I've seen the Arrow Video Blu-ray and it's pretty great but this is just on another level - when it comes to 1080p transfers Synapse are definitely on a Criterion level of perfection, few can touch 'em and Red Scorpion benefits greatly from there tender love and restoration affections.

The English DTS-HD 5.1 surround sound mix is stunning, there's no shortage of explosions, gunfire and sounds of the battle field here and the surrounds get a nice workout, the low-end rumble was really rattling the walls. Also included us the DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo track for the purists but trust me the 5.1 is the way to go here, it's a great presentation.

Special features are plentiful beginning with the Hell Hath No Fury featurette, an interview with Lundgren whom talks about his beginnings as a engineering student, working security detail for 80's icon Grace Jones which lead to a romance and then landing a bit part in the 007 film A View to a Kill through that connection which eventually brought him worldwide acclaim with Rocky IV  then into the Masters of the Universe film. When speaking of Red Scorpion Lundgren talks of producer turned politician Jack Abrahamoff and director Joseph Zito, the troubled production in South Africa and his stunt work which is just crazy by today's standards, dodging errant explosion, jumping from a motorcycle to a moving truck and being bit by a hyena and stung scorpions. It's a great interview and a treat for fans of the film.

We also get a dry but informative interview with lobbyist cum producer Jack Abrahamoff and another with master special effects maestro Tom Savini who worked on the film and speaks about the insane pace of the shooting, working with Lundgren and his effects work on the film. Savini  also has  a few interesting tales to tell of getting caught in a flood with his wife and then infant daughter and being rescued by rebel soldiers, there's also some really cool behind-the-scenes video footage he shot included too, great stuff. 

There's also a super-informative audio commentary with director Joseph Zito moderated by Mondo Digital's Nathaniel Thompson. Pretty much anything you could ever want to know about the film is discussed, it's an entertaining commentary and well-worth a listen. On top of that we get a still gallery of one-sheets, production stills, and behind-the-scenes pic, theatrical trailer and a collection of TV spots.

Special Features: 
- All-New 2K High-Definition Digital Restoration of the Uncensored Version
- Audio Commentary with Director Joseph Zito and Mondo Digital’s Nathaniel Thompson
- All-New DTS-HD MA 5.1 Soundtrack Mixed Specifically for This Release
- ASSIGNMENT: AFRICA (12:41) 16:0 – Video Interview with Producer Jack Abramoff
- SCORPION TALES (10:05) 16:9 – Video Interview with Make-Up Effects Artist Tom Savini
- Rare Original On-Set Behind-the-Scenes Video Footage (9:11) 16:9
- Animated Still Gallery (6:57)
- Liner Notes on the Making of RED SCORPION by Jérémie Damoiseau
- Theatrical Trailer (1:55) 16:9
- TV Spots (3:06) 4:3
- Reversible Cover Design

Verdict: Synapse's Blu-ray of Red Scorpion is a muscular, sweaty and blood soaked 80's actioner that looks fantastic in 1080p. The gorgeous 2K transfer, sweet DTS-HD 5.1 surround mix and impressive array of extras make this an easy recommend. 
Red Scorpion definitely kicks some major ass on Blu-ray. 3.5 outta 5 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

DVD Review: ABSENTIA (2010)

Region Code: 1 NTSC
Rating: R
Duration: 91 mins
Video: 16:9 Widescreen (1.78:1)
Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital
Director: Mike Flanagan
Cast: Kate Parker, Courtney Bell, Dave Levine, Morgan Peter Brown, Justin Gordon, James Flanagan

At the start of director Mike Flanagan's creepy supernatural thriller Absentia Tricia (Courtney Bell) is a woman struggling with her husband Daniel's (Morgan Peter Brown) unexplained disappearance seven years previously. Trying to move on with her life she's 0n the verge of processing paperwork declaring him 'dead in absentia' but the process proves unnerving and she's tormented by frightening visions, not helping matters she's pregnant with another man's child and racked with guilt. To help her through this emotionally difficult time her younger sister Callie (Katie Parker) comes to stay with her but she comes with her own demons, namely a history of drug abuse and homelessness.

Callie's daily jogs through the neighborhood bring her to a pedestrian walkway that runs underneath the freeway across the street, it's here that she encounters a strange spectre-like man (Doug Jones), the odd encounter is unnerving but she shakes it off, the following day she encounters a strange young man who warns her to stay away from the tunnel. Drawn to the tunnel she develops a bit of an obsession with the ominous place and learns that a rash of disappearances have occurred in and around the tunnel since the turn of the century.

No sooner has Tricia put pen to paper declaring her husband dead when he turns up outside her home in a near catatonic state, traumatized and disturbed. The sudden reappearance throws the distraught Tricia into a tailspin as she struggles to deal with the pregnancy and what Daniel's reappearance means. As she wrestles to maintain her sanity Daniel becomes a bit more coherent and confesses to Tricia's sister that he was abducted by a large insectoid creature and transported to a netherworld. At this point Callie is completely enraptured with the strangeness associated with the tunnel, she's already heard strange noises in the house and when Daniel says that there's something living in the walls she ready to believe but it may already be too late for it seems the creature wants Daniel back.
The film is low-budget but has high production standards, cinematically it looks well beyond it's means and is quite attractive. The cinematography sets a definite atmosphere which is enhanced in no small part by Ryan David Leack's hauntingly repetitive  score. The scares aren't cheap, this is a tense and chilling film that earns it's fright factor.

Absentia runs lean and strong beginning with a strong script and solid performances from the leads. The only bit of the film I felt was extraneous were the detectives whom felt forced and stereotyped, had they been excised I think it may have made for an even stronger film. Absentia is an indie creeper done right, an indie chiller that casts a haunting spell. 3.5 outta 5

DVD Special Features:
- Absentia: A Retrospective (33:15) 16:9
- Producer and Actor Commentary
- Camera Teaser Teaser (1:16) 16:9
- Deleted Scenes (5:15) 16:9
- Trailer(1:27) 16:9