After.Life Review

After.Life (2009)
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Starring: Christina Ricci, Justin Long, Liam Neeson
Directed by: Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo




It's a simple fact everybody has questions about what happens when you die. If you had a chance to try to come back from the brink, would you take it? Would you fight to return to the ones you loved?

In After.Life, a car accident leaves a young woman dead at the morgue. Or does it? While her grieving boyfriend tries to cope with the tragedy, Anna straddles the boundaries between life and death while dealing with a mortician who either wants to help her transition to the afterlife or simply wants to bury her alive.

This was a movie I was drawn to immediately, because I love Christina Ricci. I'm a fan of Liam Neeson and Justin Long as well, but the real attraction was Ms. Wednesday herself. That being said, I will say there are a lot of pretty decent things about this movie that make it worth watching. I don't honestly see it topping any favorites lists, but for the most part, it's still a solid film.

To start off, the story isn't bad. As both the feature film screen writing and directing debut for Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo, I will say I'm impressed by the overall product.  It's a bit over-dramatic at points, but the arc smooths out decently. Throughout the film, there is a subtle ambiguity as to the state of living of Christina's character, which I found interesting. What helps feed into the mystery is the "ability" of Eliot the mortician (Neeson) to communicate with the dead, which at times seems like it could be a real thing, but at others feels more like he's just bat shit insane. As the movie progresses, Anna's boyfriend, Paul (Long), becomes increasingly more distraught over the death of his girlfriend, eventually lashing out in a scene that I won't spoil for you, but I will say involves an unexpected acquaintance of Anna's. As he grieves, there are more and more "clues" as to her situation, making him believe that something is not right at the mortuary.

One thing I did find fascinating was Christina's ability to handle a nude scene. Being one to have fallen in love with her back during The Addams Family days (she's three years older than me, so fuck off), it was a bit weird at first, but the realization that this is an actress who has transcended past performances and grown into a fantastic woman with acting chops to spare really put things into perspective.

Also, much like in films such as Drag Me To Hell, this is another opportunity for Justin Long to play the "straight guy" (meaning not the comic relief or the cinematic jackass), which is something I believe I remember hearing he has always wanted to do instead of being typecast, which is more than respectable.

To be fair, the only things that brought this movie down for me were the lack of real "action" and blood and gore. This is a movie that is driven on mystery and suspense. There really isn't much of any special effects going on besides blood and light wound make up. That's not my normal bag, but there are still many merits that make After.Life worth checking out for any horror fan. If you're just in it to see some breasts, your best bet is to move along as that's not what this movie's about. For those fans I'd suggest something along the lines of a Warren Speed film.

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Characters


Setting/Atmosphere


Special Effects



Overall Rating: Wounded and Limping

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