You’ll think twice about taking that shortcut through through the tunnel on your way home from work after watching Absentia, a spooky little indie with its heart in the right place and the filmmaking talent to back it up. There’s a tunnel that’s home to some unspeakable scuttling fiend in a local neighborhood, and two sisters who live nearby, as well as a few unfortunate other folks, stray directly into it’s path. Pregnant Tricia (Courtney Bell) and her younger sister Calley (Catherine Parker) are just trying to get by, literally and figuratively, but every routine trip into this hellish part of the neighborhood ends in disappearances, freaky apparitions from a spindly Doug Jones, this time not playing the monster, and tragic loss of life. I won’t give away what the threat is or what it even looks like (you’ll piss your pants), and such is the beauty of a minimalist scarefest like this. You go in not knowing much beyond the hype or word of mouth, and have your pants scared off. There’s a wonderfully atmospheric score at play here, no psycho strings of operatic swells, the film instead favoring a quiet, emotional melody that contrasts the extremely bleak story arc and grim happenings rather nicely. Jones is the only prolific actor we see here, but his work amounts to not much more than a cameo anyway, the brunt landing on our two protagonists, and a local detective (Dave Levine) who assists them, and they all give very solid efforts. The tunnel is a pure unbridled nightmare though, the fates of those who wander in something that you pray never happens to anyone ever, as you cling to whoever is closest to you on the couch (or bed, preferably). Horror should illicit some empathy from viewers as well as scare them, which will in turn be more disturbing for all. This little baby does just that with it’s characters, truly making you feel sorrow and dread for these poor people and their predicament, adding to the creep factor. A gem.