Absentia (2011) Ending Explained

Absentia (2011) movie ending explained

Absentia (2011) is a horror mystery film written & directed by Mike Flanagan who already made a name for himself in the genre Doctor Sleep (2019), Gerald’s Game (2017), Midnight Mass (2021) and so on. This movie is equally brilliant in its intended meaning. You may be wondering what the hell is this Absentia and why is it so popular. If you’re looking at my face right now, you should know that I’m not confused. If you have any questions about this movie or don’t understand the plot, then read on.

Absentia Ending Explanation and Plot Story in Details

* * * Spoiler Alert – If you haven’t seen the movie yet, turn back now! * * *

Tricia is a pregnant woman who lives in Glendale, California. After seven years, she is finally ready to accept that her missing husband, Daniel, will not return. She is getting ready to declare him legally dead.

Former addict Callie, her younger sister, stays with her. She presents “The Three Billy Goats Gruff,” a children’s book, to Tricia. It is a classic fairy tale, and the foreboding of a bridge under the grip of an evil force gives the story a subtext for the movie.

Together, they search to locate Tricia’s new residence and collect the death certificate for Daniel. Tricia’s psychiatrist interprets her terrible hallucinations and nightmares about Daniel as stress and remorse as the date draws near.

Callie is out for a run when she comes across a skinny man in a tunnel who seemed surprised to see her. She flees as he introduces himself as Walter Lambert and begs her to get in touch with his son. Later, when the tube is empty, she comes back with food and drops it within.

Callie discovers a pile of small metal objects on their doorstep. She assumes Walter left them there and places them near the tunnel entrance. A passing man warns her not to do so and leaves a trash bag in the same location. She discovers the pile of metal objects on her bed later.

Detective Mallory is the person now romantically involved with Tricia. He is also investigating the case of Daniel’s disappearance. He responds to the call and chastises the women for leaving their door unlocked in a dangerous neighborhood.

Callie secretly relapses into drug use due to her restlessness. Tricia decides to sign Daniel’s death certificate and go on a date with Mallory. Only to be met by a bloodied and barefoot Daniel in front of her house.

Doctors at the hospital determine that Daniel is severely malnourished, dehydrated, and has been physically abused. Daniel appears surprised that others can see him and can only explain that he was “underneath.” He doesn’t answer any questions and appears to be terrified of the tunnel in front of his house.

Mallory approaches Tricia and attempts to persuade her to leave Daniel and be with him. Despite her refusal, the two kisses. At the same time, Daniel tells Callie that he made a deal with an insectoid creature that lives in the tunnel’s walls.

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Callie is knocked unconscious while investigating strange movements near the bathroom. When she wakes up, she sees a creature dragging Daniel into the tunnel and through its solid walls.

Callie lies to the detectives about her relapse. But Tricia discovers her stash and accuses her of hallucinating the incident. In response, Callie shows Tricia information she found on the internet about missing people in the neighborhood over the last 100 years. There is Walter too. Lambert’s son claims that he was abducted by monsters.

The next day, police find Walter’s bloody body at the tunnel’s entrance. The man Callie saw earlier is revealed to be his son, Jamie. He is accused of kidnapping local pets and claims that he has been offering them as sacrifices to find his father.

The creature attacks Tricia and Callie and kidnaps them. Callie files a missing person report before returning to the tunnel to make a “trade,” offering to give up her life in exchange for Tricia’s.

To her surprise, the creature returns Tricia’s unborn fetus instead. The creature then takes her and leaves only her empty shoe behind.

Mallory discovers an envelope containing her research that Callie had left for him. His fellow detective Lonergan assures him that the cases will be kept open indefinitely.

He speculates that Jamie may have murdered Tricia and Callie. They suspect him of being a serial killer. But Mallory believes Callie fled and Tricia is happily living off the land somewhere.

At the end of the movie, while Mallory is putting up posters, he notices an apparition of Callie standing in the tunnel. But when he looks closer, she is gone.

Callie watches him walk away from the tunnel as the creature’s limb rests on her shoulder.


Original Title: Absentia

Other Titles: Nestali (Croatia, Serbia)

Genre: Horror/ Mystery/ Lovecraftian horror

Runtime: 1hr 27min

Original Language: English

Written & directed by Mike Flanagan

Tagline: There are fates worse than death.

Release date:  March 03, 2011 (USA)

Origin Country: United States

Filming locations: Glendale, California, USA

Awards: 14 Wins, 04 Nominations

Brainless Pen Rating!

Cast of Characters

Actor/Actress Name Characters Name
Katie Parker Callie
Courtney Bell Tricia
Dave Levine Det. Mallory


Absentia is a well-made horror movie that is worth watching for fans of the genre. The ending is unclear, but it is still creepy and suspenseful. Fans of the horror genre should check it out.

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