Reviews: After.Life (Blu-ray)

After.Life is a murky, mysterious melodramatic horror film that was co-written by Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo and Paul Vosloo, and directed by the former. The film stars Christina Ricci as Anna Taylor, a cold, distant woman whose relationship with her boyfriend Paul (Justin Long) has seemingly lost the spark. After an argument at a restaurant, Anna leaves Paul behind and drives home alone. Before she can reach her destination, an aggressive driver distracts her and she drifts into oncoming traffic. Cut to white.

Anna wakes up in a morgue, with a mortician (Liam Neeson as funeral director Eliot Deacon) preparing her body for her funeral. The rest of the film chronicles Anna’s struggle to accept her death, Deacon’s determined insistence that she is in a state of transition and Paul’s attempts to uncover the truth. The cast all perform admirably, with Neeson giving credibility and gravitas to what might otherwise come off as a generic horror villain. Ricci is excellent (if not typecast) as the confused and frustrated Anna. Justin Long reprises his role from Jeepers Creepers as the concerned everyman – he certainly likes these low-budget horror flicks – and acquits himself well (as he should, he’s certainly had enough practice).

The script doesn’t exactly give these actors a lot to work with; the emotional truth of the narrative is incredibly vague and the dialogue is basic at best. The filmmakers talents lie elsewhere; the film is visually arresting and the development of atmosphere and tension is superb. While the plot may have more inconsistencies than a Moon Landing conspiracy theory, the way in which the factually ambiguous story is told is entertaining. Some of the shots are stunning, and the director creates suspense without resorting to cheap scares.  After.Life is a good horror movie, mixing melodrama with mystery to successfully create an intriguing cocktail that is, at the very least, worth a taste.

The Blu-ray release didn’t include any special features. Not cool. Nevertheless, if you’re going to see After.Life Blu-ray is the ideal way to experience the film – the visuals are alternately beautiful and horrifying, and are definitely worth seeing in HD.

3/5


review by Ben Vernel

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