After.Life (2009) Poster

(2009)

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7/10
Good but slightly flawed
skywarp-1030 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Did most of these reviewers actually watch the same movie as me. There will be spoilers in this review so watch out :)

The basic story of the movie concerns a young girl, clearly struggling with life and her relationships. After a car crash she 'awakens' in a mortuary only to be told that shes dead. The rest of the movie covers Liam Neeson (the undertaker)and his attempts to convince her that she is in fact dead and help prepare her for her funeral. But is she really dead?

This movie is not about life after death. Its not about what happens when you die. This movie is about people not really living their lives, wandering through life like they're dead already. I think its fairly obvious that the main character is in fact very much alive when taken to the undertaker. Numerous clues point to this in the movie, breath on the mirror, the 'muscle relaxant' that shes injected with and the fact that shes walking around and has to be locked in :)and finally to confirm that Neeson is lying, in the final scenes he clearly kills the boyfriend. But the movie has several scenes that seem to ruin this, and push the film to seeming supernatural grounds. With numerous scenes, or nightmare scenes like the confrontation with her younger self, and the old woman's corpse walking and talking. These slightly detract from the overall focus of the storyline, but keep you guessing if she is alive or dead.

In the end, this is a good movie, with an interesting story and direction, only slightly let down by some of the scenes. Well worth a watch.
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5/10
Good idea gone wrong
Samiam328 August 2010
Driving carelessly in the rain one night, Anna Taylor has a car accident which kills her. She is DOA, or is she. Anna wakes up in the basement of the local funeral home, and the funeral director tells her that she is dead (with a certificate to prove it). He also tells her that he can talk to the dead. Anna wants out, but he will not let her leave, claiming that she must accept the truth. Is she really dead or is he nuts?

After Life has a great set-up, but from there, things get worse. What keeps the viewer hooked is the promise of an an upcoming climactic twist, like that in the Sixth Sense (the film which After Life has its roots in). Unfortunately, with each passing chapter, it becomes more evident that the outcome we would like is not going to come.

Yet what is more bothersome about After Life is that frankly it is dull. I see an idea here, but I don't see a movie. After Life recalls Awake in that it functions well as an experiment in psychologically related themes, but it doesn't provide exiting or suspenseful material. After Life has really nowhere to go, but down. Despite being partial fantasy, its inability to make sense is aggravating and not acceptable. After Life could have and should have been way more potent than this.
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3/10
A confused, clumsy piece of pretentious melodrama.
furtherintime12 August 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Ah, here we see yet another self-assuming, clunky mess of a film. We should have known, having seen the pretentious dot that has been placed between the two words of the title for no apparent reason.

The opening is somewhat promising, involving a bored and depressed Christina Ricci, who gets involved in a budget-effective car crash and wakes up in a funeral parlour with the grim Liam Neeson looming over her, explaining that she is in fact, dead. That he tells her her blood flow has stopped before promptly injecting her with drugs (a rather pointless endeavour for someone with no circulation) denies the essence of her film-long confusion. But that doesn't seem to bother anyone at this point, because we like to give movies the benefit of the doubt, don't we. Unfortunately, Ricci's sole demonstrable skill in the film appears to be going from squeaky desperation to grim, monotonous acceptance and back again in a matter of minutes. This simply serves to add more confusion to the already bizarre plot, and ultimately makes us unsympathetic during the final scenes.

The problem with the film is that it has no idea what it is. The director has clearly been hoping for a cut above the average horror flick, but there is not enough originality or wisdom to transform it into anything else. The result is a cheap and excessively melodramatic B-side horror, which lacks the spooky scares that make its tawdry counterparts so much more exciting. The fact that the film takes itself so very seriously throughout makes it all the more infuriating.

One of the film's very few silver linings is Liam Neeson's understated performance as the unhinged funeral director, convincingly dishing out a mix of soothing sobriety and chilling psychosis, and managing to drag some life out of the clumsy and repetitive script. But then, you'd expect that from a man so undeniably bad-ass that he's even played an actual lion in a film.

A diluted and overlong episode of The Twilight Zone, for horror completists and fans of Ricci's feminine form only.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS BELOW

I find the ending worth a mention. Downer endings are all well and good in the right context. When the film's content is strong, and there is method and moral to the disappointment, one can still come away from it feeling rewarded, or at least provoked into contemplation.

Unfortunately, none of this is applicable to After.Life. The film's plot relies on the prospect of a recovery and reconciliation between its two leads; the character development is too thin and plot points too few and far between to allow for anything else. So, after having sat through an hour and a half of dreary nothingness, we as a now solidly popcorn-eating audience expect the alleviation of some form of resolve, to reward us for enduring the rest of the film and to tick one final box in the series of clichés that it has been following so avidly throughout. But unfortunately, the film seems to think that a negative finale is a one-way ticket to critical acclaim. And once upon a time, it was, but now this is simply not enough. And so, we are left with an uninspired and underwhelming descent into rigor mortis, with the bad guy living to strike again, and again, and again. God forbid.
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3/10
Good idea, great actors, but the film just has too many flaws.
Rizzlie11 August 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I understand that this is a film that will divide opinions. Perhaps it is intelligent. Perhaps it has a most wonderful, original idea for a movie that made me rent it in the first place. Perhaps Liam Neeson and Christina Ricci are wonderful actors. But it doesn't change the fact that the film simply has too many flaws. You can accept a few in an otherwise good film, but having too many of them simply destroys the atmosphere. That is precisely what happened in this case, in my opinion.

Allow me to elaborate. George Lucas once said that a movie doesn't have to follow the rules of our reality in order to be believable, it just needs to follow the rules of its own reality. This is exactly where this movie fails. It creates an unexplained horror world where something absurd happens every now and then: lights go out every time a lady walks past them with a big noise until the whole corridor has turned black (how cliché is THAT?!), plastic bumping head starts suddenly moving for no apparent reason, following a guy when he is walking. I wish the movie would have at least allowed me to believe that it was something the characters imagined in their heads, as in some other, more respectable scenes. But no, the guy didn't even see the lifeless bumpy head moving, it just did so for no apparent reason. What is so "psychologically thrilling" about that?

These kinds of events go on and on. For example, after the might-be-dead lady escapes from the man holding her as prisoner, she suddenly starts bumping into walls (in a straight corridor!) and making a terrible noise. Possibly we are supposed to assume that she is so scared she has become hysteric, but then again she didn't seem hysteric either in the previous or in the following scene, nor is she in any immediate danger - the guy holding her as prisoner isn't really threatening in any way.

The words "for no apparent reason" are key words for several events in this movie. Believibility requires a reason for a cause. This movie doesn't provide them, just irregular events placed around the plot - events that more often than not don't affect the plot any way, I might add.

The most disturbing part for me, however, was the way it dealt with the questions of life and death. It tries to talk about in-depth questions - what happens to us when we die, and are we really that alive when we live our pathetic fear-run lives, and so forth - but ends up stating clichés such as "we die to make life more meaningful" or something along those lines. Something we have heard billion times before in every funeral (or B-class drama movie) we've gone to. The movie is filled with tons of other clichés as well - along the lines of "you are more afraid of living than of dying", and a small child telling the woman "I am you" when she asks who the kid is in her nightmare (or whatever you call them weird visions all the characters keep getting every now and then), and so forth. And the worst part is, these clichés just won't stop! There is hardly any action, just line after line, and EVERY SINGLE LINE seems to be one I've heard a dozen times before! I wonder if the screenwriters were on strike when this film was scripted, because a good idea just falls flat this way.

And finally - what exactly happens to a person when he/she dies? The question of whether he/she will go on living as a spirit of some sort is an intriguing question. That is a question that doesn't seem to concern this movie at all. The question that does concern this movie - whether the body can go on living, running in the hallways and throwing stuff around - is not an intriguing one, not to me at least. Sure, one could respect it in a 50's style zombie-horror-movie. And if this was one, I might accept it. But this isn't one. This is supposed to be an intellectual movie raising intellectual questions about life and death. To assume that we should even consider the possibility that a MATERIAL BODY jumping around throwing things (and BREATHING, for Christ's sake) could be DEAD, is underestimating the intelligence of the same audience for whom the movie is sold to as an "intelligent psychological thriller".

All of the above is more or less absurd. And I am a person who finds absurdity amusing. I suppose one could respect a movie for making one burst out a laughter every few minutes. But if its unintentional, there seems to be something wrong with either the script or directing (sometimes acting, too, but not in this case). Seriously, I did laugh every now and then. Out loud too, not just inside my head. And an "intelligent psychological thriller" shouldn't make you do that.

Liam Neesom is a wonderful actor - once again. That gives this film two stars. Third one for a good attempt to create something original - even though in my eyes the attempt somewhat failed in this case. I would love to give more stars to an original and a clever idea, but every time I try to go for the fourth a picture of the moving plastic head bumps into my head and once again I begin to laugh.
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Thought provoking sick fantasy thriller mystery.
amesmonde31 October 2010
A funeral director appears to have the gift of speaking to dead, and help with their passing to the either side. However, his latest work is a young female school teacher, but is she really dead or is he fulfilling a sick fantasy.

Director Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Voslo's After-life is intriguing, thought provoking and original throughout. The stark style of filming is reminiscent of Body to Body (2003) aka "Corps à corps".

While most of film centres around the character of Anna Taylor it is a wise casting choice by Matthew Lessall as beautiful Christina Ricci gives an emotional performance as a girl who's is not sure if she is dead or alive. Although, Ricci is on the mortuary slab and semi-nude for most part of the film, comparably to Anna Falchi in Dellamorte Dellamore (1994), to Wojtowicz-Voslo's credit it's never in an explicit or over sexualized presentation.

Liam Neeson is convincing as the mortician Eliot Deacon in a subtle performance where he communicates with the dead. He's creepy and cold, although not given a back story, his character has many layers. The tension between Neeson and Ricci is note-worthy and create some great moments.

Die Hard 4 star Justin Long is average as Ricci's fiancée, as he doesn't have the convincing weight of the other players. However, Young Chandler Canterbury as the little boy Jack is memorable. The supporting cast are a mix of familiar face's including Josh Charles and Shuler Hensley and the other officers.

Direction, lighting and music create an eerie atmosphere for this effective thriller mystery. There's horror too in the way of Anna Taylor's visions and Deacon working on the deceased prepping their bodies.

Overall, simmering entertainment with a closing act to ponder over.
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7/10
Liam Neeson brings the dead to life in this film!!!!!
zhennis20 October 2010
After-Life embraces the mystery/thriller sub-genre of the drama genre's style and refuses to relent even up to and after its conclusion. The film relies on the question of whether or not those in the funeral home are dead or only being led to believe they are dead. Despite having evidence for both sides of this issue displayed throughout the film, you will be left to decide for yourself as to which side you believe. It is possible that both scenarios occur actively in the film. This film has a "Saw" style of lesson-learning involved in the story. It seems that the inability to love is the motive in After-Life whereas the inability to live life is Jigsaw's motive.

While the acting from Justin Long & Christina Ricci is on par with their other performances in recent history, Liam Neeson offer a performance that will rival his performance in Taken. Neeson is the reason this film is so suspenseful because he is able to create a character that can be viewed as delusional, insane, psychotic, or "gifted" without forcing the audience to believe only one of these characteristics.

Entertainment wise this film is not a blockbuster but connects many good directorial and cinemagraphical elements. The musical score is as eerie as John Carpenter's Halloween score. There is not much bad that can be said about this film. The shot choices are sensible and simple without being overtly creative. This is a film that allows the story to evolve on its own and the actors to the story its character.
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7/10
death, life, mystery, crossover, after life, ghost, confusion, escape
bernard_sinai7 November 2010
After Life explores the beliefs about the soul and what happens to it after we die.

The film is about Anna Taylor (Christina Ricci), a school teacher who supposedly dies in a traffic accident. She wakes up and finds herself in a mortuary with the undertaker, Elliott Deacon (Liam Neeson), talking to her, explaining that she is dead.

However, as time goes on, it becomes evident that not everything is what it seems. Deacon always locks the doors as if afraid that she may escape and every attempt she has made to communicate with her boyfriend, Paul Coleman (Justin Long) is disrupted by Deacon.

Is Anna really dead? Or does the undertaker have a more sinister plan for keeping her?

The film keeps you in suspense and guessing until the very end.
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7/10
After.Life - there is a clue in the title
gradyharp7 August 2010
AFTER.LIFE (yes, that is a dot between the two words suggesting this may be a video game...or blog, or something created in cyberspace) takes a long shot; can a one-line story keep an audience's attention for over 103 minutes? Not having noticed whether this played in theaters or is one of the direct to DVD films, that question is tough to answer. The director and writer Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo (writing in tandem with Paul Vosloo and Jakub Korolczuk) asks us to suspend belief and muse about the idea that there is a time between 'death' and the actual burial (or other means of final interment/disposal) when the spirit may struggle with the idea of life ending. It is an interesting hiatus to study and fortunately a cast was selected to portray the characters involved in this internet-like game that makes it watchable.

Schoolteacher Anna Taylor (Christina Ricci) and Paul Coleman (Justin Long) are in a rocky relationship: they could be headed toward marriage but Anna has trust issues that prevent her from committing to same. In a rage she leaves the frustrated Coleman, subsequently is killed in a car accident, and is taken to a mortuary where mortician Elliot Deacon (Liam Neeson) begins preparing her body for the funeral. Anna is unable to move anything but her mouth and denies that she is dead, a situation Deacon encounters with most every dead body he prepares for burial. And this is where the conundrum begins: is Anna dead or is she alive, kept prisoner by Deacon? Anna's hateful mother (Celia Watson) visits her daughter's corpse and has few kind words to say. Paul is devastated, comforted by his colleague Tom (Josh Charles), that Anna is dead and visits the mortuary to see the body but is refused admittance by Deacon. One of Anna's young students Jack (Chandler Canterbury) seems to have a special affinity for the dead and spies on the mortuary where he sees Anna standing in a window. Anna and Deacon have long talks about the after.life - that time when the soul is preparing to leave the corporal body - and Deacon continues to prepare Anna for her funeral. As she is buried the facts of the story straighten out a bit, but to reveal those facts would ruin what little suspense there is in this film.

Though the moody atmosphere is well captured by both the director of photography Anastas N. Michos and the musical score by Paul Haslinger, and the presence of Liam Neeson who plays his role very straight and Christina Ricci who plays her role almost entirely in the nude, give the story the requisite creepy effect. Yes, it is corny in many ways, but at least it is a bit different from the formula movies that keep churning out of Hollywood.

Grady Harp
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2/10
Poorly written story
alan-oursland19 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I like stories that have a consistent ground truth behind them. Movies that end intentionally ambiguously (such as Total Recall or Inception) annoy me. This movie is worse. It seems to have a ground truth but presents a world that violates that truth.

I've read on the forums here that the director's commentary claims that Anna was alive and that the funeral director killed her.

This may have been the director's (or the writer's) intent, but there are also story elements that indicate something else is going on. We see dream and hallucination sequences that seem to contain information the dreamer wouldn't know. There is a bobble-head doll that turns to face Paul as he walks around the room.

The idea that a living Anna wouldn't fight more completely breaks my suspension of disbelief. She doesn't seem to eat for days (or have other bodily functions).

In the end, this is just a movie. The director's intent in telling a story does not make it fact. There is no ground truth in reality and not even a decent facsimile in fiction. The film was shot, edited and acted very well, but no level of production quality can make up for a poorly written story.

If you would like a visceral thriller built around the theme of an idea, you will probably enjoy this. If you are looking for a well thought out supernatural mystery, you will be disappointed.
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Definitely not great but, quite clever and entertaining
imdbbl25 July 2010
After a horrific car accident, Anna (Christina Ricci) wakes up to find the local funeral director Eliot Deacon (Liam Neeson) preparing her body for her funeral. Confused, terrified and feeling still very much alive, Anna doesn't believe she's dead, despite the funeral director's reassurances that she is merely in transition to the afterlife. Eliot convinces her he has the ability to communicate with the dead and is the only one who can help her. Trapped inside the funeral home, with nobody to turn to except Eliot, Anna is forced to face her deepest fears and accept her own death. But Anna's grief-stricken boyfriend Paul (Justin Long) still can't shake the nagging suspicion that Eliot isn't what he appears to be. Paul desperately tries to convince the local Police Chief (Josh Charles) that Anna's alive. But the more he investigates her death, the more they question his sanity. As the funeral nears, Paul gets closer to unlocking the disturbing truth, but it could be too late; Anna may have already begun to cross over the other side.

After Life is a clever psychological thriller with a very creepy and mysterious atmosphere. The concept behind the story is very cool but the execution is definitely what made the film. Is Anna alive or is she dead? That is the big question of After Life and the film goes back and forth delivering several clues, some subtle, some not so much. And even though the film tries to be ambiguous, by the end, it's pretty clear what happened. Still, it will drive you crazy, in a good way of course. The film also poses some interesting questions regarding the nature of life forcing the viewer to reflect on his own existence.

Liam Neeson did a good job and Christina Ricci was exceptional in her role. Justin Long however, was largely disappointing. Overall, it's nothing outstanding but definitely a very entertaining flick and the director was able to put a different spin on a often used concept.

6.5/10
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8/10
Terrific Bleak Tale
claudio_carvalho8 August 2010
The school teacher Anna Taylor (Christina Ricci) is a troubled woman that uses many pills along the day and is incapable to love due to the creation of her dysfunctional mother. When her boyfriend Paul Coleman (Justin Long) is promoted but needs to move to Chicago, he invites her to a fancy dinner to propose her. However Anna does not listen to him and believes he wants to quit their relationship, leaving the restaurant totally disturbed and upset. She has a car accident and awakes in a funeral home, where the director Eliot Deacon (Liam Neeson) is preparing her body for the funeral service. Anna tells him that she is not dead, but Eliot shows her death certificate and explains that he has the gift of listening to the dead. Along the days and the nights, Anna faces her fears and Eliot slowly tries to convince her to accept her death. But Anna does not believe that she had died and tries to communicate with Paul. Is she really dead or alive?

"After.Live" is a terrific bleak tale and one of the best horror movies that I have recently seen. The ambiguous story provided leads to the viewer to decide whether Anna Taylor is dead or alive but the conclusion is actually open to interpretation. Liam Neeson and Christina Ricci totally or partially naked most of the time have top-notch performances, supported by an intelligent and original screenplay, tight direction and awesome music score. The atmosphere is melancholic, and the dark colors are contrasted by the red of blood, hair dye and dress. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): Not Available
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10/10
Thoughtful and Creepy
mags_049 November 2009
What does it mean to be alive? Not a question you're going to find broached in 10,000 B.C. or 2012. But it is a question first time director Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo tackles in After.Life with surprising depth and skill. Christina Ricci plays Anna, a woman disconnected from her almost fiancé (Justin Long) and alienated by her mother, who moves about her days in a mostly apathetic haze. For the most part Anna's life seems, well, rather lifeless - until she wakes up on mortician Liam Neeson's slab only to learn that she is in fact dead. What exactly that means is the mystery.

My favorite way to see a movie is when I know next to nothing about it (so I won't spoil anything here!), and that's how I went into the AFI screening of After.Life last night. I knew the basic premise and a little about the story, but other than that - nada. Which I have to say is a great way to approach a thriller. The highlight for me was Liam Neeson (no real surprise there) who brings surprising warmth and complexity to what could have otherwise easily been a very two-dimensional character. The other standout was Chandler Canterbury as Jack, Anna's young student who has a little figuring out of his own to do. Their performances alone are worth the price of admission. The director's attention to detail, dream imagery, and color (most notably a scene where Neeson washes the dye from Ricci's hair as she lies stretched across an embalming table) reminded me of the stark, Gothic beauty of Six Feet Under and Dexter. That said, this film isn't cut and dry, doesn't tie everything up neatly at the end, and asks more questions than it answers. It's definitely not your typical American movie - something I consider a positive aspect. If you don't, then I'd suggest skipping this one an netflixing Twister.
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1/10
Rubbish film full of flaws!
raymi_713 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I can't believe some people put more than 1 star for this film. It has soooo many flaws and the director does not even explain them properly. There is no question whether the woman played by Christina Ricci was dead or alive because the director herself explains that she IS alive and we are meant to question this as we watch the film.

Here are a few flaws: Christina Ricci trashes the place she is held captive and walks over broken glass, but does not bleed from it. She takes an eternity to open a door, so long that the captor (Liam Neeson) is able to go to the local gas station, put gas in his car, pay and get in his car again and drive back. He has a magic mirror that makes Christina Ricci look like she is dead and all gaunt. You question how the hell Liam Nesson was able to get the body in the first place if she's not supposed to be dead. There are times when the drug in Christina Ricci's body is wearing off, but she never feels anything. She never gets hungry either. I could go on, but it makes me angry thinking about them all.

This film is also full of clichés and if you read the reviews by other people who didn't like it they also say the same.

If you want to see a good thriller/horror do not see this. If you want to see Christina Ricci naked for quite a lot of the film do see this. It was actually the only enjoyable part of the film.
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8/10
A Question of Life and Death
harryhotspur6810 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
A woman, Anna (Christina Ricci) wakes up in a funeral home and is told by the undertaker (Liam Neeson) she's dead. Debut filmmaker Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo sets up an interesting premise, and as the story unfolds we're never quite sure whether Anna is indeed dead, and unable to come to terms with her death. Or whether she's in fact alive, and the victim of a very sick undertaker. You'll have to watch it yourself to find out the answer, and there's enough twists and turns to keep most audiences guessing until the very end.

The film is well made and ambitious for an indie film. The director handles the genre scares and thrills with the assured skill of a veteran, yet refreshingly poses some interesting and awkward questions about life and death and the fragile line that separates them. However, the main reason I've given this film an 8 rather than a 9 or 10, is that I'd have liked to have spent more time on the intriguing question about what happens when you die. It's a powerful question. I suspect the producers were more interested in genre scares than thoughtful analysis. Still an amazing film and one I'd highly recommend
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2/10
Why so illogical?
Orongo5 August 2010
Warning: Spoilers
In short: this movie is a waste of time.

First of all, I think the cast was not chosen wisely. I know that Liam Neeson is a great actor, but for some reason he fails in performing the "dark part" of the undertaker, which is the most important character in this movie (in my opinion).

While being excellent as the "normal" undertaker when interacting with relatives of the deceased, he is not able to express the feelings of his dark part. He is shouting to his dead "clients" in order to show how bad he is, but you still don't believe that he is convinced of what he is doing. It just looks like acting and this gives you a bad feeling when watching the movie.

Christina Ricci is performing excellent (yes she looks great, and there are some nude scenes), but this doesn't save the movie. Justin Long is neither excellent nor bad. Who cares... his part is not that important for the movie.

However, the cast is not the main problem, because the story is illogical as it can be. The director took it too easy with going into both directions and ignored the resulting contradictions during the final. I'm afraid, that after all the hints in the movie that were pointing in both directions, there was no room for a logical ending without removing the scenes that do not fit.

The illogical story makes this movie a complete waste of time, because there is no other interesting point in this movie but to find out, what is really happening and why the hints are going in both directions.

However in the end the director just throws away half of the hints and delivers an easy solution - too easy for serious storytelling.
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10/10
Memorable
davidredhead17 November 2009
I saw After.Life over a week ago at AFI. Normally I don't add comments or even vote on IMDb (laziness being the main reason) but this film has stuck in my head more than any film I saw at AFI or AFM (or in fact any film I've seen in the last year).

On the surface it's a genre film and all the genre elements are there - it's scary, creepy and very chilling. But it's much more than that. It deconstructs the genre with both humor and respect. The director is obviously a genre fan, and shows respect for the genre conventions while poking gentle fun at it.

And as a genre piece it works extremely well. There's a forbidding menace hanging over every scene that gets deep under your skin. Liam Neeson as the Funeral Director is tremendous and makes the duality of the character very believable. Justin Long is also a revelation - he can do serious acting! But overall I think it's the message of the film that stays in your head. What does it mean to be dead? And most importantly, what does it mean to be alive?
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8/10
(Contains Spoilers!) Creepiest movie since "The Body Snatcher"
jwryan10 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
(Contains Spoilers) After.Life succeeds at what it is trying to accomplish: balance the idea that this young lady is recently deceased, caught briefly between life and the after-life while a mortician/funeral director with a "gift" for communicating with the clientèle "prepares" her for burial; against the idea that she is not dead, a mistake has been made, and the mortician is preparing her for something worse than death.

I found the flaws present in the editing of the film (where I found the majority of the flaws) contributed to the confusion and contrast of the question of whether she was dead or whether the mortician was evil. Even that was by design, I guess.

Dream sequences are great, they usually work for me. In this movie there were a couple of dream sequences that probably didn't fit with either of the primary postulates of the movie; Dead? or Alive? Maybe the biggest problem I had with the movie is that it doesn't answer the question of whether she was dead all along or perhaps buried alive. It carries that question throughout the movie, right to the end, and leaves it unanswered. A viewer might see it one way or the other, but for me the movie doesn't answer that central question.

Having said all of that: Liam Neesom plays a very convincing mortician/funeral director, Christina Ricci did a great job with one of the most demanding roles in the history of film, and the film was beautifully shot.

I know mortuary science is an everyday occurrence but this is one creepy movie.
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A well constructed thriller
Gordon-116 August 2010
This film is about a young woman who wakes up lying in the morgue, with a mortician insisting that she is already dead.

"After.Life" is such a good thriller! The film successfully generates a chilling and desperate atmosphere about a person experiencing the transition between life and death. The plot is great because first it makes you think one way, then there are clues as to what is really happening, then the truth is presented in your face. Some people say there are plot holes, but I think all of the supposed plot holes are easily explained along the lines of what really happens in the film. Christina Ricci is phenomenal in playing this tormented character, adding much realism into the film. Just pay attention to all the details in "After.Life", and you will find it is a well constructed thriller.
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7/10
Enjoyable
stevegad17 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I have to say I had a ton of reservations when I saw this title, but being something of an eternal optimist, I went ahead anyway. Thankfully, the slightly pedestrian pace is compensated for by the vision of the sultry ms Ricci, lying almost naked on the pathologists table, so the men won't be doing a lot of complaining. A friend of mine was confused about the same part of the movie as my partner and I were, namely the scenes near the end where it seems unclear whether the boyfriend actually makes it to his girl's grave, or really did simply imagine it. Maybe I should watch it again? All in all quite and engaging thriller, with something of a twist.
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10/10
Thoughtful & Provocative
stamford42308 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
It's a rare pleasure to come across a genre film that's both original and beautifully made. At one level it's a tightly made horror thriller with enough scares and creepy moments to keep the most ardent horror fan happy. But at another level it's also a thoughtful and provocative examination of what it's like to be dead -- or more importantly, what it's like to not be living.

The film starts by following a young woman, Anna (Christina Ricci) trying to cope with her depression and a relationship that appears to be falling apart, and the local funeral director, Eliot (Liam Neeson) as he prepares for a funeral. The opening sets up a suspenseful inevitability that Anna's and Eliot's paths will soon cross.

But it's when Anna has a car crash and wakes up on Eliot's slab that the film really kicks into high gear. Eliot calmly tells her she's dead and he's preparing her body for her funeral. Despite Anna's pleas that she's still alive, Eliot's chilling calmness convinces us that Anna is really dead. Eliot has a gift. He can talk to the dead to help them transition to the afterlife.

It's a fascinating premise. A funeral director helping people come to terms with their death and the regrets of their life so they can be finally at peace and move on. Anna asks if she's ghost, and we sense that perhaps she is. That maybe ghosts are only transitory during the period between death and moving on to an afterlife.

But as the film progresses, Eliot's behavior becomes more sinister. And as the film literally becomes darker, Eliot's motives become less clear. Is Anna really dead? Or is Eliot drugging her so she only thinks she's dead? The answer is surprisingly evasive. At one stage I thought she was definitely dead but then subtle clues made me think she was alive... and then 10 minutes later I was convinced again she was dead! The strength of the film is that you're never quite sure until the very end.

The performances were incredible. Liam Neeson's looks were enough to send chills down my spine. An amazing actor. Christina Ricci was very convincing and very sexy! And Justin Long was surprisingly good in a serious role (although the film was also darkly humorous in places).

A strong, intelligent story. Great performances. But it was the overall look that really blew me away. Beautiful colors and striking visuals -- especially with Anna in a vibrant red slip lying on a white slab in a cold gray room. Stunning! This unusual and very original film will not be to everyone's taste, but audiences who enjoy thoughtful, provocative film-making will be delighted to find something in the theaters that's not a gore-fest or comic book.
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What about that "transition period" between life and death?
TxMike13 August 2010
Warning: Spoilers
For those of us who see this on DVD, and still have questions the writer/director does an unusually fine job of explaining what she wrote and why, and clears up any doubt of who may have been alive and who may have been dead. I enjoyed the movie, my wife not so much.

Christina Ricci is young school teacher Anna Taylor, in a relationship with young, hot-shot lawyer Justin Long as Paul Coleman. It is never clear where they are but it is supposed to be a smaller community where most people know who most other people are. The car had an Ohio license, but I believe it was actually filmed in New York state.

Anna and Paul meet for dinner, and he tells her he has been offered a great job, with more responsibility, in Chicago. She goes off the emotional deep end, won't listen to what he has to say (he wants her to go with him, he wants to build a life with her) and drives into the dark and stormy night. While doing something with her cell phone in her hand (never a good idea on a dark and stormy night while driving near big trucks) we see flashes of light and interpret that as an accident.

The scene shifts to a sterile-looking room, where Anna wakes up on a table, unable to move, and seeing Liam Neeson as Eliot Deacon, undertaker, staring down on her. "Where am I", she asks. He tells her she is dead, and what she is experiencing is that interim period between actually dying and accepting her death so that she can have a proper funeral.

Lots of other things go on after that, with her boyfriend, or a kid at school, or the local law enforcement, but most of the movie takes place over 3 days in the funeral director's room where he prepares bodies for the coffin. This is very effectively done and as one watches closely for clues it is usually pretty clear what is going on.

MAJOR SPOILERS follow: Anna talks to Eliot, presses him as to why she can talk even thought he says she is dead. He tells her he has a special gift, others cannot hear her. But what he is really doing is inject her with a chemical that places the body into a death-like state. She really is alive but for reasons never explained, he views her as "dead to the world" so burying her, still alive, is the best disposition. Maybe he is just a psychotic killer. He has a habit of snapping a Polaroid picture of the prepared bodies in the coffin, and his bedroom has dozens of the photos pinned to his wall, a gallery of sorts. Those with their eyes closed really were dead, those with their eyes open were buried alive. Photos show many of each type. Including Paul who going after Anna's grave gets into an accident and Eliot brings him back to repeat the process Anna had just gone through.
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10/10
Extraordinary and stunningly beautiful
zombiegurl2129 November 2009
This movie completely blew me away. It's not your ordinary Hollywood genre film, it's literally extra-ordinary. Yes, it's a genre film. And yes, it has gory scenes and some very scary scenes. But it's the overall creepiness of the film that really gets under your skin. I literally cannot stop thinking about the film and still get shivers thinking of it.

It also has some hilarious dark humor. The director subtly pokes fun at some of the clichés of horror/thriller films. Like when a police officer comes to see his brother's corpse. You think he's going to save Anna (Christina Ricci) but what happens is so darkly twisted that it will literally take your breath away! Liam Neeson was particularly good as the sinister undertaker. He has this amazing presence. I also was pleasantly surprised by how good Justin Long was. It's not his usual role and he was exceptional.

But more than anything else this is a stunningly beautiful film. The colors and visuals of the movie are extremely powerful and really help create a weird and very creepy world.

An extraordinary film. Definitely catch it when it's released in cinemas!
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6/10
slow but good
trashgang28 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
To say that this is a good supernatural horror movie, I would say no. But it really is something special. It is in fact a very slow movie but it didn't bother me because it'a all about, as the title says, afterlife. After a car accident Anna Taylor (Christina Ricci) dies and her body is brought to the local funeral director (Liam Neeson). But suddenly she awakes, but the funeral director tells her she's dead. From there on the movie goes into the supernatural and sometimes it doesn't. But what makes the movie good is the performance of Christina, she gives it all here in every part. Liam isn't my kind of an actor surely not after the A-team turkey. I rather would have seen some creepy face instead. But we have to do it with him but he does it like he has to do it. It's the director's first movie and by that I can say she (Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo) did well. The editing was very well and the use of slomo also made it a bit of an arty flick. But for me it's the face of Ricci that made the movie.
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7/10
Stuff doesn't make any sense sometimes, but still a good psychological thriller horror flick
KineticSeoul12 October 2010
For the most part this is a cleverly crafted film which makes the audience think back and forth cause it can go both ways. Well at least half the film makes you keep thinking of what is really going on, than it leads the audience to decide and throws another reason for the audience to doubt their decision. The plot is this, a stupid girl played by Christina Ricci who is a school teacher gets into a accident. Which leads her body to be in a process of being prepared for her funeral and the person that takes care of her body to look presentable during the funeral is played by Liam Neeson who does a great job with the roles he is given most of the time. While this is going on her boyfriend is trying to seek out her body in order for him to get closure, because he personally thinks she is still alive. Christina Ricci wasn't bad in this role, but I never liked her or found her attractive and found her acting all cocky most of the time to be a bit annoying. But she played her character pretty well in this one although very stupid at times. The main highlight of this film is the constant guessing game, where it leaves it up to the audience for the most part of the movie. Of whether the girl is really dead or if the whole thing is just a sick game. The ending is pretty good and terrifying as well. Sure there are aspect of the film that doesn't make any sense, but it didn't get to the point it got irritating to watch for the most part.

***Spoilers below*** The title to this movie is misleading in a way. And I found it odd how there are hardly and emos or goths in this flick considering the ending and all. This could have also been another "Saw" movie with less blood and gore, but with the title "Saw" it's a dead give away of what is really going on.

7.2/10
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8/10
Not brilliant but very intense.
claudinhabarata24 February 2011
I saw this film thinking that I would see something related with the after life subject has the name suggests. After seeing it I think this film has nothing to do with after life but about life itself, and how we live it. Maybe we are dead already. Are we living it? or just let life pass through us?

Spoiler alert!

Anna was afraid to love, and so she lived without any passion. We all let things die in us, specially feelings, and most of us don't do what we want for fear of suffering, like she did. This film made me think about my life and how I live it, It's not very common that a film do this. Only for this it is worth to see!
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