2016, Mike Flanagan (Absenstia) -- Netflix
one of my favourite and long thought about movies of the last few years, Absentia. Its nice to know that this push to find movies to watch lets us setup some directors we enjoy. His followup Oculus which I didn't enjoy as much as J did, was in the same vein as the previous, but this time round we get a rather creative entry into the "stranger at your door" genre of horror.
Maddie is deaf and lives in the country in a nice, cozy new house where she is attempting to write her second crime novel. Insert scene of empty page/screen. She has a friendly, nice neighbour Sarah who is a fan of the book and attempting to learn American Sign. All nice nice. Until Sarah comes banging at the door screaming in fear. Maddie has her back to the door and this is the time when a doorbell with flashing lights would have been handy. She doesn't hear a thing as Sarah is gutted by a stranger in a mask, that classic mask all these movies have had of late. He almost immediately makes himself known to Maddie and he pulls off the mask; he has other ways to fill her with fear as he attempts to break into her surprisingly well built little house.
This movie is clever, with making both Maddie and The Man (played by The Newsroom's John Gallagher) capable combatants. They are both thoughtful, cautious but driven by the emotions of the situation. He has cut her off from the outside world and she is trying to bide her time, until she can escape or seriously injure him. The tension is palpable.
This was a departure from Flanagan's previous supernatural pieces but proves he is good at tension and interesting situations. I am sure we will add his next piece to our next series.