After.Life (2010) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
7Oct/100

After.Life (2010)

Danny no longer writes for Can't Stop the Movies, and can be reached at his fantastic site Pre-Code.com

Danny INDIFFERENTI don't believe people watch horror movies to laugh quite as much as I did at After.Life.

This tepid thriller concerns a woman involved in a car crash who may or may not be dead. That the woman is Christina Ricci, someone with an eerily ethereal presence already, would seem to give this movie a bit of a supernatural edge.

But that never happens. Instead, we're treated to ninety odd minutes of Ricci going through the five steps of acceptance. Liam Neeson is the mortician who keeps her trapped in a cavernous back room. He plays the role with a muted grimness, practically challenging the wallpaper in in terms of enthusiasm.

Ricci's life before her fatal crash was marred by the fact that she was dating Justin Long. Their sex life is one-sided, and Ricci pouts and argues with a passive-aggressive tenacity that is nothing less than hilarious. That the audience is supposed to sympathize with her, doubly so.

Strangely, the screenwriter choose to give Ricci a job as a school teacher. This is mostly so she could interact with the token "creepy kid" who wanders around and sees dead people and stuff. He's fairly uninteresting, and I always wonder about child stars: do they see the movie after it comes out? Do they go to the premiere? Do their parents cover their eyes for the nudity?

I would. Ricci apparently has no qualms showing some skin, and even that doesn't seem to escape the humdrum doldrums of the movie's bland visual milieu. Every spot of the film is drenched in a glowing antiseptic white, and it's ugly in its dominant dullness.

There's nothing akin to the style or skill of someone like Tarsem or Sam Raimi here, though there were plenty of openings to inject a sense of style into the proceedings other than a few cheesy make-up effects. No, director Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo gives the film no presence, no state of being that makes it even look like an effort was put forth.

Add to that some eye-rollingly awful lines-- "You all say you're scared of death, but you're really more scared of life!" and questionable acting choices-- subdued for Neeson, unsympathetic for Ricci, and batshit crazy for Long-- and you're not left with a whole lot.

It only gets worse as the film tries to end by untwisting the plot; instead of an orange having its skin removed, this is more the effect of rolling a ball down a hill until it hits a jagged rock. Is Ricci really dead? Is she actually alive and a prisoner? Was she alive and then dead? Did Neeson fake the whole thing? Did Justin Long die or is Neeson just messing with him? Does Brad really love Janet?

Who knows, who cares. The movie doesn't seem to. I sure don't.

After.Life (2010)

This film is currently on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Directed by Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo
Starring Christina Ricci, Liam Neeson, and Justin Long

Posted by Danny

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