After.Life (2009) Review

After watching After.Life, I feel silly for looking forward to it simply because of Christina Ricci. I thought I would be presented with a silly popcorn flick, some Ricci eyecandy, and that would be the end of it. I was completely wrong. 

Anna(Ricci) Is depressed, and she doesn’t know why. She doesn’t know what she wants, or how to get it. All she knows is that she is not happy. Paul(Justin Long) Anna’s boyfriend. He doesn’t know what is wrong with Anna, he just knows that something isn’t right. She’s not passionate about anything anymore, and typically of a male, he assumes it has something to do with him. Paul has a big job offer, and is excited to ask Anna to marry him, and move away. A botched proposal sends Anny out the door, and into the car for some angry driving, and phone-fu which ultimately leads to a car crash. Anna regains consciousness, or so she thinks, lying on the table in the basement of a funeral home. Elliot Deacon(Liam Neeson) is the funeral director that will be preparing Anna for her funeral. 

This is where I’ll stop with the plot rundown. The less you know about this film going in, the deeper it’s impact on you will be. Much of the details that lead to the impact of After.Life are hidden beneath the surface. You’re not going to get a cliche reveal moment, nor are you going to be spoon fed the plot. It’s really clever, in that it makes you think that something else is going on, even though the answer is right underneath your nose. At the same time, the story tries really hard to avert your eyes, to get you to focus on something else, while what should be painfully obvious to you unravels without you knowing it. 

The overall look of the film is beautiful. It’s extremely dark, almost surreal. The entire film is so bleak, and grey, almost dead looking, save for Ricci’s bright red dress, which sticks out like a sore thumb, and triggers racing thoughts, and even dares the viewer to question the story, and the way it’s being told. There are subtle hints hidden throughout the film, that are very easy to miss if you’re not paying enough attention. I would honestly recommend watching this film twice, back back, because even the most eagle eyed of viewers is bound to miss something, and chances are, if director Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo went to the trouble of filming it, it’s paramount to the plot. 

And just to put to bed the question that many of the male readers may have, yes, Christina Ricci does appear naked for a good portion of the movie.Now that that is out of the way, there’s actually a solid film that surrounds that fact. “After.Life” is a solid psychological thriller. It challenges it’s viewers in a way that most films are afraid to. It never clearly identifies it’s self. After.Life gives you the tools you need to decide for yourself what you have just witnessed, even more to the point, to decide what type of film it even is. 

Color me impressed. Going in, expecting to come away with a “meh” feeling, and being titillated a bit by the haunting beauty that is Christina Ricci, I’ve experienced one of the best psychological thrillers I have seen for a while. It’s not black or white, and if you’re not willing to commit yourself fully to the film, you may not have the same reaction that I did. If paying attention to ever little detail in a film in order to understand it turns you off, you’ll be better off skipping this one. But if you’re like me, and you like when filmmakers don’t treat us like the brain-dead drooling troglodytes that Hollywood seems to think we are, don’t even think twice about seeing this flick. The devil is in the detail, remember that. 


  • Anonymous

    was she effing dead or alive.
    i think that bitch be alive yo.

  • Anonymous

    total moive is based on the visions that director wants you to see, to make you believe, false genereated impulses from wrong focus points, that doesnt want you to let it go,