AFTER.LIFE (yes, that is a dot between the two words suggesting this may be a video game...or blog, or something created in cyberspace) takes a long shot; can a one-line story keep an audience's attention for over 103 minutes? Not having noticed whether this played in theaters or is one of the direct to DVD films, that question is tough to answer. The director and writer Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo (writing in tandem with Paul Vosloo and Jakub Korolczuk) asks us to suspend belief and muse about the idea that there is a time between 'death' and the actual burial (or other means of final interment/disposal) when the spirit may struggle with the idea of life ending. It is an interesting hiatus to study and fortunately a cast was selected to portray the characters involved in this internet-like game that makes it watchable.
Schoolteacher Anna Taylor (Christina Ricci) and Paul Coleman (Justin Long) are in a rocky relationship: they could be headed toward marriage but Anna has trust issues that prevent her from committing to same. In a rage she leaves the frustrated Coleman, subsequently is killed in a car accident, and is taken to a mortuary where mortician Elliot Deacon (Liam Neeson) begins preparing her body for the funeral. Anna is unable to move anything but her mouth and denies that she is dead, a situation Deacon encounters with most every dead body he prepares for burial. And this is where the conundrum begins: is Anna dead or is she alive, kept prisoner by Deacon? Anna's hateful mother (Celia Watson) visits her daughter's corpse and has few kind words to say. Paul is devastated, comforted by his colleague Tom (Josh Charles), that Anna is dead and visits the mortuary to see the body but is refused admittance by Deacon. One of Anna's young students Jack (Chandler Canterbury) seems to have a special affinity for the dead and spies on the mortuary where he sees Anna standing in a window. Anna and Deacon have long talks about the after.life - that time when the soul is preparing to leave the corporal body - and Deacon continues to prepare Anna for her funeral. As she is buried the facts of the story straighten out a bit, but to reveal those facts would ruin what little suspense there is in this film.
Though the moody atmosphere is well captured by both the director of photography Anastas N. Michos and the musical score by Paul Haslinger, and the presence of Liam Neeson who plays his role very straight and Christina Ricci who plays her role almost entirely in the nude, give the story the requisite creepy effect. Yes, it is corny in many ways, but at least it is a bit different from the formula movies that keep churning out of Hollywood. Grady Harp, August 10
"After.Life" is what could have and should have been an interesting film. The premise and set-up is nice, it has an appealing cast, and the atmosphere has the potential to be pretty creepy. So what went wrong with this supernatural thriller? Why didn't I enjoy it? The answer: it was lifeless. This first-time feature from Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo is a rather disappointing first effort, and the naivety certainly shows. How Vosloo could get the talents of Liam Neeson and Christina Ricci … more
Life after death according to co-writer/director Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo is the best way to describe this horror-psychological thriller “After.LIFE”. The film is on a limited run in San Francisco theaters so I figured I’d check it out since it had Christina Ricci (Black Snake Moan) and Liam Neeson (Taken) as its main protagonists. There are two thing that are required to be able to enjoy and understand this film; One, that human’s experience a sort of a shock/denial … more
I couldn't stop laughing. When Christina Ricci said she didn't want to be a pale corpse ... I mean come on. I think it was meant to be an inside joke but since the story was so stupid it was pretty much all I had to hold on to.
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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After.Life is a psychological horror film starring Liam Neeson, Christina Ricci and Justin Long, directed by Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo from her original screenplay.
After a horrific car accident, Anna (Ricci) wakes up to find the local funeral director Eliot Deacon (Neeson) preparing her body for her funeral. Confused, terrified and feeling very much alive, Anna doesn't believe she's dead, despite the funeral director's reassurances that she is merely in transition to the afterlife. Eliot convinces her he has the ability to communicate with the dead and is the only one who can help her. Trapped inside the funeral home, with nobody to turn to except Eliot, Anna is forced to face her deepest fears and accept her own death. But Anna's grief-stricken boyfriend Paul (Long) still can't shake the nagging suspicion that Eliot isn't what he appears to be. As the funeral nears, Paul gets closer to unlocking the disturbing truth, but it could be too late; Anna may have already begun to cross over the other side.