General Release 2009
102 minutes approx
Anna Taylor -
Eliot Deacon -
Paul Coleman -
Directed by -
Written by -
Paul Vosloo and Jakub Korolczuk
Anna Taylor wakes up following a car accident to find herself in a funeral home about to prepared for her own funeral. The mortician, Eliot Deacon, assures her that she is dead and that he has the gift of speaking to the dead and helping them to crossover. She isn't so certain. Thus a game of wills is begun in which she tries to discover the truth of her situation and he tries to convince her that he is only there to help.
AFTER.LIFE (and the presence of the full stop in the title isn't made clear at any point in the film) comes on like an episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE stretched out to feature length. Is Anna dead or not? Is Eliot all he seems or not? Opinions swing both ways as each new piece of evidence comes to light, but the truth always seems to be just beyond reach.
This is a slow burn, eerie little movie and whilst it does feature Christina Ricci in various states of undress is not a horror for those looking for blood and gore. There are bodies being prepared for burial, it's true, but there is precious little action with the film relying on suspense, atmosphere and the relationship between its leads.
Christina Ricci, apart from baring almost all for her art, struggles to give her corpse, who was apparently emotionally dead long before her accident, any real depth and just looks far too young for the role. Liam Neeson, by contrast, is a study is stillness and quiet threat. Even if he is what he claims to be, he is a bloody scary funeral home director.
Justin Long is the cast's third leg, but his story, and that of a death-obsessed school child who grows more under the influence of Eliot as the film progresses, seem to be there just to fill out the running time.
There are hints of something more supernatural at work, such as Anna's bloody noses and sudden ability to kill lights just by walking under them, but these fail to make more of the premise than is there and it is really the battle of wills between Anna and Eliot that is the heart of the movie and that aspect of the film that works the best.
If you like your horror cerebral or want to see Liam Neeson giving a controlled performance of sustained threat, then AFTER.LIFE is a diverting way to pass the time. For others, its slow pace and constant twisting of audience expectation of who Eliot actually is may be too frustrating.Top
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