Annoyingly Inept ‘After.Life’ Bores Audience to Death
CHICAGO – “After.Life” is one of the first truly awful films of 2010. Its aggressive solemnity combined with its head-slapping silliness will cause most viewers to simply laugh it off the screen. There’s at least two possible ways to interpret its murky story, and they’re both ludicrous. The only mystery guaranteed to linger in moviegoers’ minds is the inexplicable motivation of Christina Ricci and Liam Neeson to take part in this direct-to-video dreck.
First-time feature director Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo tries far too hard to get a reaction out of her audience. There are countless instances where loud clangs are heard on the soundtrack, followed by characters asking Ricci (and presumably the viewer), “Are you scared?” Frankly, there were more scares in “Casper.” The filmmakers spend so much time making noise that they forget to build suspense. Paul Haslinger’s irritating score has perhaps the greatest overuse of suspended cymbal rolls in film history, punctuating nearly every scene with a blaring crescendo until it quickly becomes an unintentional running gag.
|Read Matt Fagerholm’s full review of “After.Life” in our reviews section.|
Ricci plays Anna, a morose teacher who listlessly wanders through her daily routine as if the life has been drained from her body (she’s literally dead on arrival). Her long-suffering boyfriend Paul (Justin Long) improbably puts up with her cool indifference. In the first of many forced conflicts, Anna storms out of a restaurant after an inane misunderstanding with Paul, and immediately gets in a car crash. She awakens in a funeral home, where the seemingly sinister funeral director, Eliot Deacon (Neeson), is beginning to prepare her body for burial. He explains to her that he has the gift of communicating with souls of the deceased as they transition to the after.life, but Anna insists that she isn’t dead. Is Eliot endowed with a sixth sense, or is he merely a self-righteous serial killer?
Photo credit: Anchor Bay Entertainment