366 Weird Movies’ Giles Edwards interviews director Mali Elfman, actress Katie Parker, and producer Derek Bishé about their 2022 supernatural road trip movie, “Next Exit.” Preceded by the Q&A remarks from the film’s official premiere at the 2022 Fantasia International Film Festival. Stay tuned (or skip to the end) for restaurant recommendations.
FEATURING: Katie Parker, Courtney Bell, Morgan Peter Brown
PLOT: Tricia’s husband Daniel 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, it becomes clear that Daniel’s presumed death might be anything but ‘natural.’ The ancient force at work in the tunnel might have set its sights on Callie and Tricia … and Daniel might be suffering a fate far worse than death in its grasp.
WHY IT SHOULD MAKE THE LIST: Although fairly low budget, the story is told through the eyes of several different characters. It uses subtle camera angles and unusual noises coming from the walls and in the dark tunnel where some of the story is set. The director, Mike Flanagan, has a good understanding of how to create suspense and horror mixed with fantasy and folklore. This combined makes Absentia a memorable and haunting film, a must see for all!
COMMENTS: For me this film resembles some of the darker plotlines of Haruki Murakami’s novels such as “Kafka on the Shore” and “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.” The theme plays on the idea of hidden worlds that exist within the context of everyday spaces and experiences—whether it’s down a well, in a forest, or in a tunnel—where one can become isolated and disoriented, causing ones mind to lose it’s basis in reality and discover all is not what it seems.
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