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Review: ''After.Life''


A movie as annoying as its oddly punctuated title, After.Life is a misguided and empty-headed attempt at psychological horror that succeeds only at talking the viewer to death. The directorial debut of Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo, the movie centers on Anna (Christina Ricci), a schoolteacher who storms off after an argument with her boyfriend Paul (Justin Long), has a car accident and wakes up in the mortuary of the kindly, vaguely creepy funeral-home operator Eliot (Liam Neeson).

 Eliot informs Anna - in the most soothing, gentle tone - that she was killed in the wreck and shows her the death certificate as proof. Anna's pallor is a bit on the gray side, and there's a nasty gash on her forehead that suggests a fatal injury. But Anna insists she's alive, especially since she can still walk and talk and think, and demands that Eliot release her from the locked room in which he makes corpses look their best before their funeral.

The central premise of After.Life is admittedly compelling: Is Eliot telling the truth when he tells Anna he has the gift of talking to dead people who have not yet accepted their fate? Or is he a lunatic serial killer passing himself off as a kindly mortician? But after about a half hour of back and forth between these talented actors, you start to realize After.Life isn't going anywhere beyond the set-up.


Eliot constantly lectures Anna ("You all say you're scared of death, but the truth is you're scared of life!'') while she tries in vain to escape her makeshift prison. A subplot involving the growing suspicion by the grief-stricken Paul that Anna may still be alive thankfully gets us out of the funeral home, but Long is miscast in the role (he's a talented comedian, but suffering just isn't his thing), and the gory visions he occasionally has, such as one in which Anna tears her heart out in the shower, come off as feeble attempts to shock the movie into life.

No luck, though. After.Life benefits greatly from the compulsively watchable Ricci, an actress who deserves a lot more starring roles than she gets. It is also exceptionally well shot. Wojtowicz-Vosloo certainly knows how to use a camera. Now she just needs to learn how to entertain an audience - or at least come up with a film that doesn't try so hard to be profound yet has absolutely nothing to say about the way the living deal with death.

After.Life (* out of ****) opens Friday, March 9 at Aventura and Sunset Place in Miami-Dade and Sawgrass and Paradise Park in Broward.


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This movie had me captivated from start to finish. It was emotionally horrifying in a way few movies achieve. Critics may have slated this work but I thought it was carried through in a manner reminiscent of British horror movies and thrillers. The ending was left perhaps just a bit too vague for my liking, after all hadn't we been punished enough by the turns and twists of the plot?

A more sympathetic approach to the outcome from the viewers perspective would have been been very welcomed as I don't watch movies to have the rest of my day ruined thinking up happier endings.

Acting from Gleeson was top notch but I just couldn't believe the characters of the lovers. Bit 2 dimensional. And what was the young boy about? Was he even necessary? How did that add to the story? The film never explained his young looking grey haired mum sitting in front of the TV either which seemed to me to be a hole in the plot.

Is it just me or does Ricci look like a girl in her early teens? I found that a bit unsettling given her nakedness for a large part of the movie.

Oh well! Life goes on...


A terrific review about a shitty movie. Wish I'd read it before watching the damn thing.

Jimmy D

Worst movie ever or one of the best...
Left me ticked off.
Then horrified at the fact that watching it seemed to leave me as the intended target of its condemnation.
The cop that peeks at Ricci's naked "corpse"
.... me, equally morbidly, watching her for an hour.
Ricci, free to escape, but stuck, properly pegged, "more afraid of life" ... me, free to turn off this morbid crap.
The kid's zombie-like Mom, entranced before the black and white tube ... me again.
This movie, having been watched, even if grudgingly ... our video and book library full of murder mysteries and horror tales.
Philippians 4:8 came up on my verse calander this morning after watching that hideous indulgence / profound lesson ...
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things

Anon Amos

This movie sucked big time! I can never get that hour and half back. There were so many holes in this plot that they should've called the movie Swiss.Cheese instead! Where do I start??
1. If she is really dead, then the mortician doesn't need to carefully lock the door everytime he leaves the room. Also, he doesn't race back to the house to stop a corpse from escaping either!

2. Even if the mortician is a serial killer, are you telling me that through some unbelievable coincedence he just happens to own the mortuary that always gets living people presumed dead that he can kill??? That has to be the most far-fetched way of racking up your kill-count I've ever heard of!

3. If she's dead, why was she able to destroy the room in the mortuary? But, then the writers somehow want us to believe she is dead at the same time because nobody could go for almost a week without needing to go to the bathroom or becoming hungry.

4. If she was dead, why did the funeral director need to use a paralyzing agent on her anytime he left the room or someone wanted to view the body?

5. Why in one scene do we see the Ms. Ricci almost getting out of the funeral home while the director is gone, but, when he actually allows her to leave she somehow has some weird fantasy that keeps her from leaving the room?????

6. Oh I give up this movie just sucked to bad to go over any more holes!! All the actors in this movie are way better than this!!

Christian Nekvedavicius

According to an interview with the director as shown on the film's DVD, Anna was alive, and there are many clues throughout that point to this. Just before Anna's accident, she is being tailgated by a white van that we later learn belongs to Deacon. About 60 minutes into the movie, Anna is in a room with Deacon with a mirror. She admits that she looks like a corpse, closes her eyes, and exhales. Her breath fogs up the mirror, which Deacon wipes away before she reopens her eyes. When Paul is at the police station, one of the cops mentions that a drug exists that could slow heartbeat to almost nothing and cause paralysis. When we see Deacon giving Anna an injection shortly after, the vial has the same name on it. Note that it is pointless to inject a corpse with anything because there is no blood flow and therefore no way to circulate a drug through the body. There is also the scene between Anna and Deacon where she sees her breath condensation on the handheld mirror and panics, screaming "You lied to me!" Deacon is in fact a psychopath, who takes it upon himself to decide who gets to live. The final clue is when Deacon puts Anna's picture on his wall, and we pan out to see all of the pictures. Some of the people have eyes open, other eyes closed. Wojtowicz-Vosloo says that those whose eyes were open were, like Anna, ones who were not really dead.

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