Home Theater Horrorshow: 3/13/2012

Posted: March 14, 2012 by Jenny Dreadful in Film, News

During Oscars week, we published  The Lucky 13: The Best Horror of 2011 and The Ripleys, a tribute to the individuals who scared us, moved us, and made us laugh last year.

Well, Absentia and Melancholia are both available on DVD this week. Have we been unclear in any way?



Tricia’s husband has been missing for seven years. Her younger sister Callie comes to live with her as the pressure mounts to finally declare him ‘dead in absentia.’ As Tricia sifts through the wreckage and tries to move on with her life, Callie finds herself drawn to an ominous tunnel near the house. As she begins to link it to other mysterious disappearances, she comes to the realization that his presumed death might be anything but ‘natural.’ Soon it becomes clear that the ghostly force at work in the tunnel might have set its sights on Callie and Tricia too.

I picked a well-designed and appropriate graphic to accompany this text, but I must warn you. The studio distributing the DVD cursed it with a hideous cover. It looks like… a ghost wearing gloves is trying to have anal sex with an angry naked lady… maybe? Please don’t let it keep you away from this excellent film.

We named low-budget supernatural chiller Absentia as one of the best horror films of 2011. They pull off incredibly effective scares through use of simple makeup, camera focus and good storytelling. I feel that telling you much more would do the film a disservice. It might be asking a lot in this era, but I recommend avoiding the trailer, turning off the lights and watching this film with an open mind.


Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander Skarsgård) celebrate their marriage at a sumptuous party in the home of Justine’s sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and brother-in-law John (Kiefer Sutherland). Despite Claire’s best efforts, the wedding is a fiasco with family tensions mounting and relationships fraying. Meanwhile, a planet called Melancholia is heading directly towards Earth threatening the very existence of humankind…

We named this film in our Best of 2011 article as well. We also praised it for Best Actress, Best Director and Best Cinematography. If you haven’t figured me out quite yet, yes, I’m rather obsessed with this film.

A metaphorical tale of the sister conditions, depression and anxiety, set in a visually stunning doomsday scenario. Melancholia is a deliberately paced and emotionally overwhelming art film experience. Say what you will about von Trier and his tendency to anger the film world. This man knows how to make a movie.

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