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After.Life (2009)

  Tags: After Life, Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo, buried alive, Chandler Canterbury, Christina Ricci, funeral, Harbor Light Entertainment, Jakub Korolczuk, Josh Charles, Justin Long, Liam Neeson, Lleju Productions, mortician, Paul Vosloo, Plum Pictures

Your rating: None Average: 7.3 (12 votes)
Reviewer Rating: 
7

afterlife2.jpg
Rating #: 
7/10
Director: 
Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo
Runtime: 
102 minutes
Cast: 
Liam Neeson, Christina Ricci, Justin Long, Josh Charles, Chandler Canterbury


After.Life was originally set to begin filming back in 2007 with Kate Bosworth and Alfred Molina, but production never took shape and the project seemed to be in a state of limbo until a year later when Christina Ricci and Liam Neeson replaced'em and filming finally began. This marks newcomer Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo's directorial debut and proves that the genre isn't just full of remakes and pointless sequels, dishing out a thinking man's horror flick for a change.

The movie  doesn't take long to get to the point, following Christina Ricci's character as a teacher named Anna, who after having a public verbal fight with her boyfriend (Justin Long), finds herself unable to move with a creepy Liam Neeson hovering above her. He reveals that he's the mortician and she got in a car accident and is now dead. He adds that he's able to still communicate with her due to a "special gift" that enables him to talk to the recently deceased and helps them cross over. The defiant Anna questions whether she's actually dead and makes any attempts possible to escape the clutches of the mortician.

The film is a bit slow paced, but entertaining  and enjoyable for those willing to accept a little story and character development in replacement of the usual cheesy scares or tired storylines. There’s no gore or dead bodies here (aside from the ones in the Funeral Home, of course). Ricci fans will be pleased to know that she spends a majority of her time naked, but don't expect much more than chest and butt shots. Neeson does a fine job playing the dubious mortician and Justin Long's role isn't as dominant as the other two, but helps add to the questions pertaining to whether Anna is really dead or not.

As I touched upon above, After.Life's main focus remains on the development of key characters and forces the audience to question the true state of Anna -- dead or otherwise. She has several scenes where she clashes with the mortician on that very subject, meanwhile we viewers receive small clues as the movie develops that seems to lean towards one particular outcome. Though the ending shouldn't come as a complete surprise to cinema vets, it was still a nice and satisfying conclusion to the events.

The movie probably won’t appeal to everyone, but I personally enjoyed the direction it took and it’s an entertaining break from the standard remake or pointless sequel that has run dominant in the genre. Don’t expect much in terms of scares or gore, as it’s mostly character and story-driven, and the film’s climax is a fairly predictable, but satisfying conclusion to the events. Worth a check if you want something out of the norm.

Posted on April 8, 2010 - 12:39am | FrighT MasteR

 

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