Luz Alexandra Ramos
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25th Aug 10
Girl squabbles with boyfriend and ends up in what appears to be a fatal road accident. She wakes up finding herself being prepared for her funeral but she still feels alive but is she?
Not long after screening at this year's Frightfest director Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo's thriller makes a speedy release onto DVD and Blu Ray. That's a shame as whilst not great cinema it still manages to pass the time nicely and has far more going for it than most of its ilk.
Firstly the premise feels fresh. We are left guessing whether Ricci's character is actually dead and that what Liam Neeson's funeral director says is true and that he can converse with those that are in 'death' limbo. Once this is revealed the movie loses much of its oomph and consequently becomes run-of-the-mill.
Neeson's Eliot Deacon has an agenda and to reveal it here would be to do the film an injustice although chances are that you will suss it all the same. He makes a salient point in his view of the world although not enough is made of this and instead he repeats the same wording a couple of times without ever expanding on it.
After Christina Ricci's Anna storms off out of a meal, after being further annoyed at her boyfriend Paul (Justin Long), her car ends up in a collision with a lorry and the next thing she knows she is being prepared for her funeral. She is somewhat confused though - as you would be - as how is it she can walk and talk as if she were living. Neeson's character tells her he hears this all the time from those that have yet to pass over and it bores him.
Whilst Anna slowly buys into what Deacon is telling her boyfriend Paul is far from convinced but goes about things the wrong way by rattling the local police and smacking a young ex-pupil of Anna's in the face. Everything wraps up with an ending that bears more than a nod to the superior The Vanishing (Spoorloos) and for those 'special' fans of Ricci she spends quite a bit of time in the all-together.
It would be nice too to have an American horror/thriller that features a young couple where for once they DO get on. More often than not we join them as their relationship is on the rocks just to have some nastiness loom that could bring them back together. It's a little tedious and adds nothing to the drama. It just feels formulaic.
After.Life is a decent Saturday night rental but nothing more. Neeson is on fine form as the dodgy funeral director (replacing the originally cast Alfred Molina) and Ricci does OK in a role that requires little more of her than to dye her hair and lie on a slab naked. Justin Long however is a needless role and the film would have worked better as a two-hander between the leads without his simpering and crying.
Versions Extras include -
Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo
Delving Into The AFTER.LIFE: The Art Of Making A Thriller
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